New charges against ex-Trump associates
Dramatically escalating the pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate.
The filing adds allegations of tax evasion and bank fraud and significantly increases the legal jeopardy facing Paul Manafort, who managed Trump’s campaign for several months in 2016, and longtime associate Rick Gates. Both had already faced the prospect of at least a decade in prison if convicted at trial.
The two men were initially charged in a 12-count indictment in October that accused them of a multimillion-dollar money-laundering conspiracy tied to lobbying work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party. Manafort and Gates, who also worked on Trump’s campaign, both pleaded not guilty after that indictment.
The new charges, contained in a 32-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Virginia, allege that Manafort and Gates doctored financial documents, lied to tax preparers and defrauded banks – using money they cycled through offshore accounts to spend lavishly, including on real estate, interior decorating and other luxury goods.