Robert Mueller's new indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, explained


A court filing indicates that prosecutors initially sought to combine the new charges with the pre-existing indictment in federal court in Washington, but Manafort declined to agree, leading to the possibility of two separate trials in two neighboring jurisdictions.

A former senior adviser to President Donald Trump's election campaign pleaded guilty Friday to federal conspiracy and false-statements charges, switching from defendant to cooperating witness in the special counsel's probe of Trump's campaign and Russia's election interference.

The charges include 23 charges related to falsifying tax returns and not reporting foreign assets. They were previously charged with 12 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering on October 30, and they pleaded not guilty.

The new indictment comes a week after a separate Mueller indictment charged 13 Russians in a conspiracy to undermine the USA presidential election.

Gates and his erstwhile boss, Trump Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, face multiple charges of financial crimes such as money laundering and violating rules governing U.S. citizens representing foreign governments.

All told, special counsel Robert Mueller said more than $75 million was funneled through offshore accounts in Cyprus, the Grenadines, the Seychelles and the United Kingdom, and that Manafort, with the assistance of Gates, laundered more than $30 million to pay for personal expenses.

Gates is expected to become the third former Trump campaign associate to plead guilty to criminal charges and agree to cooperate with Mueller's investigation into whether there was collusion between the Trump team and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

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Paul Manafort served for five months as chairman of the Trump campaign, resigning in August 2016 after past payments he had received for work in the former Soviet bloc came to light.

Both men pleaded not guilty in October when they were both first indicted by the Department of Justice on charges of laundering $75m through an offshore account. Manafort and Gates also allegedly defrauded banks out of over $20 million in loans by overstating Manafort's income and concealing debts they owed. Mueller is the special prosecutor leading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

In saying so, Zeldin treated as fact the allegations against Manafort, and while there is a great deal of evidence against him, he - like everyone else - still needs to be proven guilty in a court of law, a reality of which Zeldin is no doubt aware.

"Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence".

Mr Green confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday evening that he represented his client but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new charges. Manafort insists on his innocence. Van der Zwaan admitted to lying to investigators about his contacts with Gates.

The U.S. lobbying firms hired by Manafort and Gates, identified only as Company A and Company B, are widely reported to be the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs. "For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise", Manafort said Friday. Mueller has secured guilty pleas on related charges from four people, including Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Cooperation by the two could potentially provide a rich vein of information for Mr Mueller, who is investigating whether Mr Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow's alleged meddling.