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Former Trump campaign manager, associate charged with conspiracy related to money laundering and lobbying work


Paul Manafort attends the Republican National Convention in July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, was indicted on Monday on charges of laundering money through shell accounts. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager and a business partner have been charged with conspiracy against the United States and money laundering, among other charges, according to an indictment filed Friday and unsealed Monday morning by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C.

The two surrendered to authorities Monday morning and entered initial pleas of not guilty. 

The 12 counts against former campaign manager, lobbyist and consultant Paul Manafort, and his business partner, Richard Gates, stem from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into foreign meddling in the 2016 election. 

Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in February 2011 in Washington, D.C. Mueller is the special counsel in the investigation that indicted Paul Manafort on Monday. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

While the charges themselves appear to be unrelated to the election itself, additional court documents unsealed Monday indicate that George Papadopoulos, an adviser on the 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to misleading FBI agents in the midst of Mueller's inquiry. 

According to the documents, Papadopoulos allegedly lied to the agents regarding his communications with a foreign professor who offered "dirt" on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The adviser told investigators he was told about the "dirt" before joining Trump's campaign in March 2016, but further investigation determined that the information was offered to Papadopoulus in April of the same year. 

The indictment against Manafort and his business partner acts as a formal accusation of criminal activity and was delivered by a grand jury composed of civilians. The indictment alleges that Manafort and Gates intentionally hid foreign bank accounts from U.S. government oversight, transferred funds from these accounts and failed to register as foreign agents while lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian interests. 

Conspiracy charges imply that multiple individuals agreed to commit a crime, but the charge is not easy to prove. Some of the evidence used in Mueller's case against Manafort was collected in a no-knock raid on one of Manafort's homes in Virginia this past July.

Warrants for these types of raids are only authorized when the seeker of the warrant, in this case Mueller, proves that there is probable cause that an individual would destroy evidence if tipped off to the search.

This story will be updated.

Jesse Naranjo

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