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Former Trump Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, who surrendered to the FBI on Monday, reportedly traveled to a number of counties utilizing a cellphone and e-mail account registered underneath a faux identify.
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Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former marketing campaign chairman, departs Federal District Court, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Washington.(Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)

WASHINGTON — Lawyers defending President Trump’s former marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort mounted their first counterattack towards federal cash laundering and conspiracy fees on Thursday, insisting that federal prosecutors had “embellished” the energy of their case. 

Manafort and one other former Trump aide, Rick Gates, have been underneath home arrest since Monday, when particular counsel Robert Mueller unsealed a 12-count indictment tied to their work on behalf of a pro-Russian faction in Ukraine. The fees that each served as unregistered brokers of a overseas authorities then laundered their earnings into the United States are a part of Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into Russian efforts to affect the 2016 election.

Manafort’s legal professionals, Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle, mentioned in a court docket submitting Thursday that the case was overblown.

They mentioned the legal guidelines governing Manafort’s work in Ukraine are unclear. The cash laundering fees are only a “facade,” they added, noting that “in an international scheme to conceal badets, individuals generally move them offshore, not to the United States.”

Their response got here the identical day Manafort and his enterprise and marketing campaign affiliate Gates appeared briefly in federal court docket. U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson ordered that they continue to be on home arrest and GPS monitoring a minimum of by the weekend, saying she had “concerns” that each males may very well be a flight danger.

Jackson made one exception Thursday: She mentioned she would permit Gates to go away his dwelling lengthy sufficient over the weekend to attend a sports activities match for one in every of his youngsters. She ordered each males to return to court docket Monday morning so she may contemplate the situations of their launch.

Jackson additionally warned attorneys for each males — and in Mueller’s workplace — to not focus on the case with reporters, and mentioned she was contemplating issuing a gag order. “This is a criminal trial,” Jackson mentioned. “It is not a public relations campaign.” 

Thursday’s listening to was ostensibly a routine step to kind by the preliminary particulars of a sophisticated legal case. But it additionally provided each side a possibility to map out extensively completely different badessments of the costs — and of the danger that Manafort and Gates will attempt to escape prosecution earlier than they will stand trial.

Prosecutors argued in a court docket submitting this week that fees are critical, the case is robust, and the danger that Manafort and Gates will flee earlier than trial is critical. They mentioned each males have “substantial” cash at their disposal — although the federal government nonetheless has little thought exactly how a lot as a result of their property are so advanced. Both, they mentioned, have connections to Ukrainian and Russian “oligarchs.” Manafort holds three U.S. pbadports. Gates opened a minimum of 55 financial institution accounts since 2004.

Manafort’s legal professionals mocked the concept he may flee. Manafort, they mentioned, has identified since August that he can be indicted and didn’t run. Nor would he, they wrote, “up and leave his wife of almost 40 years, his two daughters, and his grandchildren, so that he can live the rest of his life on the lam.” 

Plus, they mentioned, the extreme publicity round Mueller’s investigation would depart him few locations to cover. “It is fair to say that he is one of the most recognizable people on the planet today,” Downing and Zehnle wrote. 

Attorneys for Gates, in the meantime, argued there was no purpose the previous Trump marketing campaign aide ought to be confined to his dwelling. “Mr. Gates’ history and characteristics strongly negate any concerns about risk of flight,” mentioned Gates’s attorneys Shanlon Wu and Walter Mack. 

They even requested the decide to permit Gates to journey internationally on a restricted foundation because the case continued. 

Jackson mentioned she is going to contemplate these requests on Monday, however solely after legal professionals on each side submit written requests outlining what they badume the correct situations of launch for each males ought to be. She expressed frustration that the legal professionals had not filed them already. 

Jackson additionally left in place Thursday a $10 million unsecured bond for Manafort and a $5 million bond for Gates. 

More: Mueller’s bombshell: Special counsel fees Manafort, Gates and divulges aide’s Russia contacts

More: Charges towards Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos: What we all know now

More: Who is Paul Manafort? More about Trump’s indicted former marketing campaign chairman

Mueller’s workplace has alleged that Manafort and Gates labored secretly on behalf of pro-Russian factions in Ukraine, then laundered tens of millions of by abroad shell corporations to dodge U.S. taxes, a scheme that largely predated their work for Trump’s marketing campaign.  Prosecutors mentioned in court docket filings this week that the pair had efficiently laundered $18 million from Ukraine to the United States utilizing an internet of shell corporations and financial institution accounts in Cyprus and the Caribbean.

Trump has maintained that the costs towards Manafort are unconnected to his administration or his marketing campaign, noting on Twitter this week that “events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign.” 

Manafort’s legal professionals struck an badogous be aware Thursday. In a footnote of their six-page submitting, Downing and Zehnle wrote that “his work on behalf of these Ukrainian clients ended approximately two years before Mr. Manafort agreed to work on the campaign of President Trump.”

Downing requested Jackson on Thursday to set a trial date for the case in April. Jackson mentioned she noticed “no reason we shouldn’t be able to.” 

Both Manafort and Gates face the prospect of lengthy jail sentences. Prosecutors estimated in a submitting that if Manafort is discovered responsible of all the fees towards him, federal sentencing tips would name for him to spend 12 to 15 years in jail. 

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