Last month, President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of eight of 18 criminal counts of tax and bank fraud in a federal court in Virginia. The jurors were deadlocked on the remaining 10 counts. The long-time Republican operative faces more legal woes in a second trial in a D.C. federal court in connection with his political consulting work in Ukraine.
Before Manafort worked for the Trump campaign, his lobbying firm was infamous for representing controversial opposition leaders abroad, which brought a bigger payday. He advised rich Russian oligarchs — including one of his biggest clients, Oleg Deripaska — but eventually turned his focus to Ukraine. Manafort scored a big contract to advise Ukraine’s pro-Russian political party, and orchestrated the party’s return to power with the 2010 election of Viktor Yanukovych as president.
But in 2014, demonstrators forced Yanukovych out of power and he fled to Russia. Meanwhile, Manafort and Deripaska had a falling out that ended with a lawsuit from the oligarch claiming that Manafort cheated him out of millions, resulting in cash flow problems for the political consultant.
Fast-forward to today: Prosecutors allege that Manafort tried to hide his income from 2006 to 2017, saying he laundered $30 million as a consultant for pro-Russia politics in Ukraine. Manafort’s Russian ties are also why he’s of interest in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the following seven charges in the second trial: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to register as a foreign agent, making false statements about working as a foreign agent, false statements, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Mueller brought the last two charges in June, when he said that earlier this year, Manafort and a Russian associate contacted witnesses and urged them to give false stories. After those charges were made, a federal judge sent Manafort to a jail in Alexandria, Va., where he’s now being held.
Jury selection is set to begin Sept. 17, while opening statements were delayed until Sept. 24 after Manafort’s lawyers said they needed more time to prepare.