WASHINGTON Ė Paul Manafort, President Donald Trumpís former campaign chief, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to several charges, including bank fraud and filing false tax returns, brought against him by the special prosecutor in the Russia probe, Robert Mueller, in a Virginia court.
Mueller filed the charges as part of his investigation into presumed Russian interference in the 2016 elections, potential obstruction of justice and Manafortís alleged financial crimes.
This is the second formal indictment Manafort has received so far in the investigation headed by Mueller, whom the former campaign chief sued in early 2018 along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
So far, Trump has categorically denied any alleged coordination or collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin to harm his electoral rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, whom he Ė to the surprise of virtually everyone Ė defeated for the presidency last November.
The indictment against Manafort, 68, comes as a result of Muellerís investigation into the links between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the presidential election, but it is not related to Manafortís activities between May and August 2016 as the mogulís campaign chairman.
Manafort has to resign from the campaign after it was discovered that he had hidden from US authorities a payment of $12.7 million that he received for advising former pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
However, legal adviser Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign adviser and friend of Managort, in February pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the US and giving false testimony to federal authorities.
Due to his admission of guilt, Gates can become a key witness for investigators eyeing the potential links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.