Anne: Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Trump, and his business partner Rick Gates are the subject of a 12-count indictment that was handed down on Monday. Manafort and Gates both entered not guilty pleas and were released on bail. So what are these allegations, and what do they mean for President Trump and the Russia investigation? Here to help examine the issue is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Paul: Hi, Anne.
Anne: Good afternoon.
Paul: Thank you.
Anne: Thanks for being here. Okay. First off, these allegations, some folks are confused by them. Can you explain the charges for us?
Paul: Yeah. I wanna try. So it’s a 12-count indictment, so it’s kind of daunting when you look at it, but really, it boils down to two things. One, you’ve got these folks. They were representing foreign government. In doing so, you’re supposed to register with our government. They didn’t do that, really. The second piece shows the money they received from that, as well as some other things, were kept in offshore accounts, so we sorta have a money laundering piece going on. So really, those are the two things that unfolded with this indictment.
Anne: Okay. What type of sentence do these men face if they are eventually convicted?
Paul: So these are…it’s always serious charges. You never wanna kinda go down that road against the Federal Government. And they have sentences anywhere from between 5 and 25 years, but I think what they’re looking to do here is ultimately, perhaps, cut a deal, right, hoping that they have some information that can continue this investigation along and maybe kinda bring it a little closer to the steps of the White House.
Anne: Okay. I think the biggest question for people is, “What does this mean for the president and the ongoing Russia investigation?”
Paul: Well, there’s two camps on that side. So if you support the president, you say, “Wow. That’s all you got? Really mother [SP]? We’ve waited this long, and this is what you bring? Really nothing that really we think is a big deal or really affects the president.” Or the other camp would say, “Hey, this is just step one. We think that it’s gonna go a lot further, and we’re gonna watch a lot more.” So this is the first step on its way, you know, towards this whole Russian probe and the United States Government.
Anne: Thank you, Paul. Thanks for breaking it down for us.
Anne: Appreciate you.