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Mueller Brings More Charges Against Manafort, Gates

The special counsel’s office has expanded an earlier indictment against President Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business partner

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates are facing more charges from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

A federal grand jury unveiled new charges on Thursday against Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, accusing them of a broader range of financial crimes.

The 32-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of Virginia includes numerous tax and bank fraud charges. Manafort and Gates already faced money laundering and other charges in federal court in Washington, D.C.

They have pleaded not guilty.

The charges unsealed Thursday compound both men’s already immense legal challenges, and may be an attempt by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to squeeze them further.

Sources have told NPR in recent weeks that Gates, who is struggling to pay his mounting legal fees, may be in the process of negotiating a guilty plea.

Manafort and Gates are two of the most prominent members of Trump’s former campaign to face criminal charges as part of the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia’s attack on the 2016 election.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos have both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russians. Last week, Mueller’s office unveiled charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for their alleged role in the Kremlin’s interference operation.

The charges Manafort and Gates face, on the other hand, stem from political consulting work they did for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine — and allegedly attempting to shield their earnings from that work from U.S. authorities. They do not include allegations that either man colluded with a foreign attack on the election.

In its court filing, the special counsel’s office said it brought the new charges before the grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia because “our current evidence venue for these charges does not exist in the district of Columbia.”

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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