Published: Fri, June 28, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ex-Trump aide Manafort pleads not guilty to New York charges

Ex-Trump aide Manafort pleads not guilty to New York charges

A haggard-looking Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy and scheme to defraud in Manhattan court Thursday.

Manafort is shown at the Republican convention in Cleveland with Donald Trump on July 21, 2016.

He was sentenced in March to seven-and-a-half years in prison for federal tax fraud, bank fraud, and foreign lobbying violations.

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Manafort's lawyer, Todd Blanche, has said he will fight the charges, saying they amount to double jeopardy.

If convicted of the fraud charges, Manafort presumably would remain behind bars even if he is pardoned for federal crimes uncovered during the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

During his arraignment Thursday before Justice Maxwell Wiley, Manafort, who is serving time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, appeared in the courtroom in navy prison garb and thick-soled white sneakers, his hair bushy and gray, his face weathered and his wrists bound by handcuffs.

In May, a state grand jury in NY indicted Manafort on mortgage fraud charges stemming largely from the same conduct at issue in his federal trials.

Manafort was a key figure in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election, drawing particular attention for his business dealings with pro-Russian political figures in Ukraine.

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Manafort, 70, is now serving a 7 1/2-year sentence for his federal convictions. The loans were also largely at issue in Manafort's trial in federal court in Virginia a year ago. He pleaded not guilty Thursday at a Manhattan arraignment.

"In our views, the laws of NY do not allow the people to do what they did in this case", Blanche told reporters after his client's arraignment.

Vance's office will likely argue an exception to New York's double jeopardy protections is warranted in Manafort's case.

Rosen passed along a letter to Vance that Manafort's attorney had written to the Bureau of Prisons, trying to gain to help Manafort in federal custody in gentle of effectively being and other concerns, CNN has reported.

He was expected to be moved to New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail complex for the state case, but his lawyers complained to federal prison officials that his health and safety could be threatened there.

His next court appearance is set for October 9.

He was transferred last week to a federal prison in NY for his scheduled 2:15 p.m. arraignment before Judge Maxwell Wiley.

He had originally been due to be held in the notorious NY state prison on Rikers Island, but was switched to a federal holding facility after the intervention of senior justice department officials earlier this month.

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