Ex-Chair of Trump Campaign Indicted on 12 Counts
After a few months of investigating, special prosecutor Robert Mueller indicted former chair of the Trump campaign for president Paul J. Manafort on 12 counts including "Conspiracy against the United States." Officially, the indictment charges both Paul Manafort and business associate (and Trump advisor) Richard Gates III.
United States of America v. Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard Gates III was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Amy Berman Jackson is assigned to the case.
Below, is the entire 31-page indictment of Manafort and Gates, with notes of the most critical material from the indictment highlighted directly below the document:
Highlights from the Manafort indictment:
"MANAFORT and GATES acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine..."
"MANAFORT and GATES generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work."
"MANAFORT and GATES laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations..."
"MANAFORT and GATES funneled millions of dollars in payments into foreign nominee companies and bank accounts..."
"MANAFORT and GATES hid the existence of the foreign companies..."
"MANAFORT and GATES concealed from the United States their work as agents of...Ukraine and its political parties and leaders."
'When sent inquiries to MANAFORT and GATES in 2016 about their activities, MANAFORT and GATES responded with a series of false and misleading statements."
"MANAFORT used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income."
"MANAFORT defrauded institutions that loaned [him] money..."
"In total, more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts."
"MANAFORT laundered more than $18,000,000, which was used...in the United States..."
Nine of the twenty-three domestic entities itemized on pages four and five in the indictment were established or incorporated in the state of Delaware. Delaware is notorious for having relaxed tax burdens and minimal regulations on corporations. New York, Virginia, and Florida comprise the other three states where Manafort and Gates established business entities for the purpose of laundering money in the United States. These twenty-three entities are separate from the fifteen entities (itemized on pages five and six) established by Manafort and Gates abroad. The countries of foreign entities (likely used as tax shelters) include: United Kingdom, Grenadines, and Cyprus.
Pages seven through fourteen of the indictment lists every known high value wire transfer involving Manafort and a foreign entity. In order to identify the facts of the case, Pages fifteen to twenty-three of the indictment outline Manafort's illegal behavior in thorough detail. The following charges against Manafort and Gates begin on page twenty-three of the indictment:
Count One - Conspiracy Against The United States
Count Two - Conspiracy To Launder Money
Count Three Through Six - Failure To File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts For Calendar Years 2011-2014
Count Seven Through Nine - (charging Gates, same as count three-six above, less one year)
Count Ten - Unregistered Agent Of A Foreign Principal
Count Eleven - False and Misleading FARA Statement
Count Twelve - False Statements
Trump and his apologists have unsuccessfully tried to spin the indictment as insignificant because it relates to matters preceding the Trump campaign. Page one of the indictment indicates that Manafort is being brought up on charges for actions taken "from 2006 through at least 2016." Thus, Manafort allegedly committed all of the violations listed in the indictment before and during the Trump campaign.
One element of the investigation to determine whether Trump or his campaign officials conspired with Russian officials to influence the 2016 presidential election is clear: This. Is. Serious. All of the endless "coincidences" surrounding multiple connections between Trump and Russian officials, finally has teeth. Trump advisors denying the existence of mountains of evidence will need to find a new line of defense. In addition to the indictments of Manafort and Gates, former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about Russian contacts. It is believed that for the months since Papadopoulos' arrest, he has worked with Mueller and the F.B.I. investigators, possibly even wearing a recording device.
Avid consumers of news and politics should expect a steady stream of names to drop within the next few months. Gathered during a pre-dawn raid, Mueller appears to be in possession of extensive evidence proving money laundering on the part of both Manafort and Gates. As a result, Manafort and Gates are expected to welcome a reduced sentence for cooperating with the F.B.I. in the investigation into Trump-Russia campaign coordination. The threat of a long prison sentence for crimes against the country poses a sufficient threat to further encourage his cooperation.
Trump surrogates and senior advisors claim Manafort and Gates were 'bad people before working for Trump, and they left bad.' If Trump is taken at face value, despite his ten-month tenure giving us no reason to consider him credible, his poor judgment led the nation down this path. If Trump took the vetting seriously and was more selective with whom he surrounded himself, none of these criminals would have earned leadership positions on the campaign.
Despite the wave of deflections and denials, the behavior of the central figure of Trump's campaign for president was illegal and this indictment is real. Unless Manafort is prepared to spend the remainder of his natural life in prison as a sacrifice for Donald Trump, he will disclose and the result will end Trump's presidency.