Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty after being indicted on 12 counts by a federal grand jury, as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russia meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign officials in the 2016 election.
As previously reported, the charges, which were announced early Monday, October 30, include conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
Manafort, President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman, and Gates, his former business associate, appeared before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson for their first appearance at a federal court in Washington and pleaded not guilty to all charges. A judge set bond at $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates, and both sides agreed to home detention.
According to The New York Times, the indictment states: “Between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort and Gates acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was president from 2010 to 2014, and the Opposition Bloc. Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their work in Ukraine.”
They are the first two officials in Trump’s camp to be charged in connection with Mueller’s investigation. The president, 71, took to Twitter on Monday to deny collusion, writing: “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????? ….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”