Judge sets Manafort's federal trial date for September 17

Judge sets Manafort's federal trial date for September 17

Judge sets Manafort's federal trial date for September 17

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson chastised Manafort for issuing a statement on the latest charges against him, saying it violated her restrictions against public comments.

Manafort's longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is among three former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to assortment of charges and have agreed to cooperate with Mueller's team of prosecutors. Several charges against Gates were dropped on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Judge Jackson blasted Manafort for issuing the statement - she previously ordered him to limit his public statements and said that she would take action if he steps out of line again.

"I can certainly understand the impulse to not let that go by without asserting your innocence", Jackson told Manafort, referring to Gates' plea and "hundreds" of news articles about it.

"I think the burden is going to fall heaviest on the defense" for trial preparations, she said.

The political impact is hard to predict, but it could aid Democrats eager to keep the focus on what US intelligence officials have warned will be a renewed Russian effort to meddle in the USA campaign this fall.

The lobbyist and political consultant has been charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Manafort and Gates were indicted in October, and both pleaded not guilty at the time.

Manafort appeared at the federal courthouse to enter a formal plea to a second indictment accusing him of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and directing an worldwide money-laundering conspiracy stemming from his political work in Ukraine.

The former Trump campaign manager appeared in a DC courtroom on Wednesday morning and will be in a Virginia courtroom on Wednesday afternoon, where he is facing a different indictment. And hours later, Manafort was hit with new charges in Washington - including an accusation that he secretly recruited and funded a group of former European politicians to lobby in the United States on behalf of Ukraine.

But Manafort would have had to agree - and he declined to, leading to the possibility of separate trials in neighbouring jurisdictions. Manafort is scheduled to be arraigned in Virginia on Friday.

The Justice Department order appointing Mueller last May was fairly broad, however, and said Mueller could prosecute "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

Prosecutors say Manafort earned tens of millions of dollars while working in Ukraine as a political consultant, moved money to offshore accounts to avoid paying US income taxes and used some for luxury expenses.

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