WASHINGTON ― Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and onetime business associate Rick Gates both pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of conspiracy and money laundering in connection with an intensifying investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
A 12-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed shortly after Manafort’s surrender includes charges of conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, failure to file foreign bank reports, failure to register as a foreign agent and false statements.
The charges are the first in the probe led by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department to probe Russian interference in last year’s election.
The special counsel’s office argued in federal court in Washington, D.C., that Manafort was a flight risk. Manafort was released on an unsecured $10 million bond, while Gates was released on an unsecured $5 million bond.
Both men appeared in court in suits. They will be booked by the U.S. Marshals before release and placed under home confinement before another court appearance on Thursday.
Emerging from court Monday afternoon, Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing called the charge that his client used offshore accounts to bring funds into the U.S. “ridiculous.”