Manafort Waives Right to Speedy Trial in Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial in one of two criminal cases tied to work he performed for Ukrainian lobbyists.

Manafort’s attorney Thomas Zehnle filed the two-page waiver in the federal court in Alexandria.

According to the waiver, Manafort acknowledged he was advised by the court that he had the right to a speedy trial and one that would begin within 70 days of the filing date of charges brought against him.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III set the trial date for July 10 at the Virginia venue. Manafort faces charges of bank and tax fraud associated with work he performed for operatives in the Ukraine.

On March 8, attorney Andrew Weissman, representing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, told Judge Ellis that he expects the government to bring forward 20 to 25 witnesses for testimony.

It is expected Manafort’s trial will stretch to no more than 10 separate trial dates.

Manafort faces 18 counts in Virginia and according to his February superseding indictment, prosecutors claim the millionaire consultant concealed his lobbying activities connected to the pro-Russia government in Ukraine by laundering his allegedly ill-gotten funds.

Mueller alleges Manafort hid his earnings in offshore accounts sprinkled through exotic locales like Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

Special counsel also claims the former Trump campaign aide exaggerated his income in order to obtain mortgages on properties owned in Manhattan and the Hamptons. Prosecutors believe Manafort also used the money to foot bills for luxury clothes, vacations, renovations and even to pay for tuition.

Roughly $30 million was laundered before Manafort’s client, Ukrainian president Viktor Yankukovych, was ousted from his government in 2014, the indictment states but more than $75 million allegedly flowed into his offshore accounts.

None of the charges Manafort faces in Virginia or D.C. specifically allege Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Manafort also faces a criminal trial in the federal court in Washington. That trial is currently scheduled to begin on September 17.

Another former Trump associate, one-time foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous – whom the president dismissed as a “coffee boy” who had “nothing to do with the campaign” in October 2017 – came under scrutiny Friday.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Bryan Lanza, the 2016 Trump campaign deputy communications director, encouraged Papadopolous to take an interview with a Russian news outlet that September.

In emails obtained by the Post, Lanza allegedly urged him to meet with the group,  saying “You should do it,” in order to encourage a “partnership with Russia.”

Papadopolous plead guilty last year for lying to the FBI about his contacts while serving as foreign policy adviser.

The emails obtained Friday are also alleged to contain information showing communication between Papadopolous, Stephen Bannon and one-time national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Since pleading guilty, Papadopolous agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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