Indicted ex-Trump campaign manager Manafort adds to defence team

Indicted ex-Trump campaign manager Manafort adds to defence team

Manafort yesterday asked a US federal judge to dismiss some of the criminal charges related to his lobbying in Ukraine, arguing that that work falls outside the remit of Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the alleged crimes predate the 2016 presidential election, USA Today reports.

He filed the motion to dismiss late Wednesday night.

Manafort's attorneys noted that the tax and financial crimes alleged in the indictment took place before the Trump campaign began and that the Justice Department was aware of certain activities before Mueller was appointed. "The regulations do not allow for such an expansive appointment", the papers added.

Manafort's lawyers also separately filed motions to dismiss individual counts in the indictment.

Gates and Manafort were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering stemming from lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russian Federation.

Last month, they loaded an additional 18 criminal charges onto Manafort that could send him to a 305-year maximum prison sentence if he is found guilty.

The motion to dismiss may indicate Manafort's will to contest the charges to the end.

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The DC charges now carry a likely 15- to 20-year sentence for the 68-year-old man. Manafort's trials before juries are set to begin in July and September.

The charges against Manafort "simply have no connection to alleged coordination with the Russian government or the 2016 presidential election", the filing said. At his first court appearance there on March 8, his lawyer told the judge that Manafort also planned to challenge the Virginia indictment on the grounds that the special counsel's appointment was invalid.

Manafort's challenge is two-fold. He goes on to say that special counsel's must be limited by specifically identifiable boundaries, which he argues was not the case here. Acknowledging that Mueller was granted the power to investigate and prosecute whatever he discovered during his Russian Federation probe, Manafort claims that Mueller didn't discover the allegations against him because federal prosecutors were already aware of these allegations in the past and chose not to prosecute. "And they certainly do not "arise from" it directly", Manafort's lawyers wrote.

"Conducting a thorough and impartial investigation of these matters has been a challenging undertaking that has been made much more so by the Majority's concerted efforts, at the behest of the White House, to undermine our work and that of the FBI and Special Counsel", Democrats wrote.

Manafort hasn't been able to convince the judge in DC to relax his home arrest by approving assets that would secure his $10 million bail there.

Mueller's prosecutors continue to claim Manafort is a flight risk, and both judges have agreed.

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