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Manafort pleads not guilty to new charges; trial date set for September

Manafort pleads not guilty to new charges; trial date set for September

Though it is unclear how long the trial would last, the campaign season for November 6 midterm elections at that point will be well underway.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Wednesday set a trial date of September 17 on five charges filed by prosecutors investigating a Russian plot to influence the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump's associates during or after the campaign. Gates, who also served on Trump's campaign, is expected to provide information about crimes he said he and Manafort committed as business partners.

The charges would likely mean a lengthy prison sentence, if not life in prison, but he's shown no sign of becoming a cooperating witness.

In response to Gates' plea Friday, Manafort released a written statement maintaining his innocence.

Last week, a federal grand jury returned new charges against Manafort and ex-associate Rick Gates as part of the probe into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign figures during the 2016 election.

About two weeks ago, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected.

In March 2017, Mueller was appointed to investigate Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

That plea was not associated with the superseding charges filed by Mueller last week but was instead related to charges filed against Manafort and Gates in October, for which he still faces 71 months in prison.

Gates on February 23 at the session of the Federal court in Washington pleaded guilty to the conspiracy at the Federal levels of perjury.

His attorneys are trying to find a legal argument to prevent Trump from being interviewed by Mueller because they fear he will lie and commit perjury. In the separate, federal case in Virginia Manafort is charged with tax violations and bank fraud.

Manafort also faces charges in the federal court of the Eastern District of Virginia, including bank fraud and tax fraud, which were returned by a grand jury there last week.

On Wednesday, Jackson said the situation could lead to a lot of duplication for both sides. On Wednesday, Judge Jackson blasted Manafort for issuing the statement - she previously ordered him to limit his public statements and said that she would take action if he steps out of line again.

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