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    Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump's national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S. (File)

    'Tenuous' Legal Theory Behind Money Laundering Charge - Manafort Lawyers

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    The former Trump campaign manager has been indicted on 12 counts, including the "conspiracy against the US" and "conspiracy to launder money."

    According to Paul Manafort's lawyers statement in a new court filing, the money laundering was based on a "tenuous" legal theory.

    "The weight of the evidence outlined against Mr. Manafort has also been embellished," Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing has stated.

    Downing filed the document with the US District Court for the District of Columbia ahead of Manafort's expected appearance in court on Thursday afternoon to finalize the conditions of his release on bond.

    The lawyers of the former Trump presidential campaign manager have stated that a $10 million unsecured bond "will more than suffice to assure his appearance as required" in court.

    READ MORE: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Points to Inaccuracy in Manafort Indictment

    Manafort Charged

    Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates, who plead not guilty, have been placed under house arrest after being charged on 12 counts, including "conspiracy against the US" and failing to register as a foreign agent of Ukraine's former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who has been removed from power as a result of a coup after violent Maidan protests in Kiev.

    Paul Manafort, former advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign, as he checks the teleprompters before Trump's speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. (File)
    © AP Photo / CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA
    Commenting on the first charges in the so-called Russia probe by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, Trump has stated on Twitter that Manafort was accused of actions he had done long before becoming part of his presidential campaign.

    In her turn, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has echoed Trump's tweet and said, "We've been saying from day one there's no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all."

    According to Manafort's lawyer's previous statement, the charges brought against his client are "ridiculous."

    READ MORE: Manafort's Lawyer Calls Charges 'Ridiculous'

    "You see an indictment brought by an office of special counsel that is using a very novel theory to prosecute Mr. Manafort," Kevin Downing said, in particular regarding the FARA charges against the former Trump campaign member. Such a filing has only been applied in six cases "since 1996, and only resulted in one conviction."

    Russia Probe

    While the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has stated that Russia has nothing to do with Manafort's charges, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for investigating a so-called "Ukrainian trace" as the authorities in Kiev "can say a lot about their position toward the candidates during the 2016 presidential campaign."

    READ MORE: Lavrov on Manafort Charges: Ukrainian Trace Should Be Investigated

    The Russian alleged interference, which has been strongly denied by the Kremlin as "absurd," is being separately investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate.

    The US president has repeatedly called the probe a "witch hunt" and has lately yet again reiterated that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and Moscow.

    Related:

    Lavrov on Manafort Charges: Ukrainian Trace Should Be Investigated
    Paul Manafort Charged With Pre-Trump Campaign Crimes
    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Points to Inaccuracy in Manafort Indictment
    Tags:
    money laundering, Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, Russia, Ukraine, United States
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