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Third Trump Campaign official pleads guilty in Russian Federation investigation

Third Trump Campaign official pleads guilty in Russian Federation investigation

Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, allegedly laundered more than $30 million with his longtime associate Rick Gates, according to a new indictment released by special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday.

Gates' guilty plea on Friday followed a new indictment from Thursday evening in which prosecutors led by special counsel Robert Mueller leveled even more charges against Manafort and Gates than they had been facing before.

A statement of offense was attached to Gates' plea agreement that stated he had made a false statement about his 2013 meeting with Rohrabacher and Manafort, who worked as a campaign aide to the president during his 2016 run for office.

The charges include allegations of wrongdoing as recently as January 2017, and that the two men became desperate for cash when their lobbying business dried up after pro-Kremlin Yanukovych was forced from power and fled to Russian Federation.

The charges against the Trump affiliates arise from their foreign lobbying and efforts that prosecutors say they made to hide their income by disguising it as loans from offshore companies.

Manafort's attorneys argued that the NY home is worth $13.5 million, which is more than his $10 million bail, Politico reports. Initially, he pleaded not guilty to the October charges. "I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process", Gates said in a letter to friends and family published by ABC News Friday. Gates received more than $3 million from offshore accounts and used this money to cover personal expenses, such as mortgage and college tuition for his children, the court filing revealed.

Mueller also recently charged 12 Russians with running a disinformation campaign on social media to interfere with the 2016 election.

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Prosecutors say Gates also lied to the special counsel's office on February 1 when he said that Manafort denied to him that Ukraine was discussed at a March 2013 meeting with a lobbyist and member of Congress. On Feb. 18, it was reported that Gates will eventually plead guilty and testify against Manafort.

These new charges are in addition to charges already filed against Manafort and Gates in federal court in Washington.

Manafort issued a statement in response to Gates pleading guilty saying he is innocent.

The charges stem from alleged conduct that does not relate to work that Manafort and Gates performed for the Trump campaign.

After leaving the campaign, Manafort created a company called Summerbreeze LLC, which took out a $9.5 million loan in December 2016 from Federal Savings. That same day, Gates' previous lawyers asked to withdraw from the case.

Mueller is investigating Russian election interference and links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Two other people who aided the president in the campaign or in the White House - former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos - have pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about their foreign contacts.