Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him by a federal grand jury in Virginia that stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging Russia probe.
The trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virgnia is set to begin July 10, and longtime Judge T.S. Ellis III will oversee the case.
The 32-count indictment was unveiled against Manafort and his longtime business associate, Rick Gates, late last month.
Manafort now faces 18 counts — including charges of filing false income tax returns, failing to report foreign financial accounts, and bank fraud — after Mueller dropped the other 16 charges against Gates as part of a plea deal in Washington.
Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor for Mueller’s team, said prosecutors expect to call between 20 and 25 witnesses and their arguments could last nearly two weeks.
Weissmann had asked for a speedy trial and the trial date be set for early May, but Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, asked for more time because the case “is not cut and dry.”
Downing asked for a November trial start, but could not give the judge a reason why July was not sufficient time.
Downing also called the case “a very broad conspiracy” and said they will file a motion to dismiss Mueller’s cases against his client in both Washington and Virginia next week.
Manafort originally pleaded not guilty to the October charges brought against him in Washington, and then pleaded not guilty to new charges brought against him in the same court last month as part of a superseding indictment. That trial is set for Sept. 16.
Gates took a plea deal in Washington and said he would cooperate with Mueller, and saw the charges against him in Virginia dropped as a result.