A federal judge on Monday ordered former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be placed under house arrest after Manafort’s plea of “not guilty” in response to a 12-count indictment in federal court related to money laundering and foreign lobbying contracts.
Manafort’s longtime associate Rick Gates was also indicted on identical charges, which stem from special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Calling both defendants a flight risk because of their connections to foreign governments, a federal judge also required that they surrender their passports and that Manafort post a $10 million bond. Gates’ bond was set at $5 million.
Manafort and Gates stand accused of conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars in undisclosed payments for lobbying work they performed on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. The bulk of this lobbying work occurred between 2012 and 2014, two years before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.
Following Manafort’s appearance Monday in federal court in Washington, his lawyer, Kevin Downing, spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, where he called the charges against his client “ridiculous.”
“There is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government,” said Downing, adding that the goal of Manafort’s work on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine was to “further democracy and help Ukraine come closer to the United States and Europe.”
Downing said that Manafort would address the charges Tuesday.
A spokesman for Gates said earlier that his client looks forward to fighting the charges against him.
Manafort and Gates are both due back in court on Thursday, before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
Here’s the statement from Manafort’s attorney:
“President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russia government.
Mr. Manafort represented pro-European Union campaigns for the Ukrainians and in the course of that representation he was seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukrainians come closer to the United States and to the EU. Those activities ended in 2014, two years before Mr Manafort served in the Trump Campaign.
Today you see an indictment brought by the Office of Special Counsel that is using a very novel theory to prosecute Mr. Manafort regarding a FARA filing. The United States government has only used that offense six times since 1966 and only resulted in one conviction.
The second thing about this indictment that I, myself, find most ridiculous is a claim that maintaining offshore accounts to bring all your funds into the United States, as a scheme to conceal from the United States government, is ridiculous.