A judge in Washington on Wednesday set a Sept. 17 trial date for former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort on charges from special counsel Robert Mueller, including money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent.
The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson would put Manafort on trial at the height of the midterm campaign season, a potentially unwelcome distraction for Republicans as they try to maintain majorities in Congress.
Manafort also faces the prospect of another trial in Alexandria, Virginia on a separate indictment Mueller’s team obtained earlier this month accusing the veteran lobbyist and political consultant of 18 counts of tax and bank fraud. Manafort is scheduled to be arraigned in that case on Friday. No trial date has been set there.
During the brief hearing Wednesday morning where Jackson scheduled the Washington trial to open in September, Manafort stood before the judge and entered a formal “not guilty” plea to a revised indictment that in the D.C. case that effectively transfers to Virginia some charges related to offshore bank accounts.
Jackson also scolded Manafort and his team for a statement his spokesman issued last Friday maintaining his innocence despite the guilty pleas tendered earlier that day by his longtime aide, Rick Gates, who is now cooperating with Mueller’s office.