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Judge sets Manafort's federal trial date for Sept. 17

By Ed Adamczyk
Judge sets Manafort's federal trial date for Sept. 17
Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will go on trial on September 17 for conspiracy, money laundeing and failure to file as a foreign agent, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Wednesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort will go on trial in September for money laundering and conspiracy, a judge ordered Wednesday.

Manafort again pleaded not guilty to charges before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a brief hearing Wednesday. The charges against him include conspiracy, money laundering of up to $30 million and failing to register as a foreign agent.

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Jackson set trial for Sept. 17, near the 2018 midterm elections.

Manafort's court appearance was his first since Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed two indictments involving 18 counts of tax and banks fraud against him last week. Scheduled to be arraigned in Alexandria, Va., on Friday, Manafort has not yet offered a plea in that case and no trial date has been set.

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On Wednesday, Jackson criticized Manafort's legal team for a statement released last week that maintained innocence despite guilty pleas from Rick Gates, a Manafort associate. She said the comments breached an order she issued in November, limiting public statements about the case.

"I can understand the impulse to not let that go by without stating your innocence. In issuing that statement about the prosecution, I believe it's contrary to the order," the judge said.

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Manafort attorney Kevin Downing said in court that he believed Jackson's order did not indicate a complete blackout of all comments, and added he will file a request to clarify the order.

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Manafort pleaded not guilty to the charges when he and Gates were initially indicted in October. Gates changed his plea last week and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's 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 U.S. income taxes and used some for luxury expenses.

Prosecutors in the Virginia case say he defrauded lenders of more than $20 million by inflating his company's income and hiding its debt.

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None of the charges relate to the 2016 presidential campaign or potential collusion with Russia.

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