Yesterday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hammer came crashing down, delivering the first indictment of his “Russia Investigation” against Paul Manafort and his partner, Richard Gates.
The details of the charges have been laid out in a 31-page indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia, and are best described as money laundering. And despite what many liberals were hoping for, they appear to have no immediate connection to the Trump campaign or the 2016 presidential election, but rather, are tied to Manafort’s work as a consultant and lobbyist for Ukrainian President Victor Yanokovych and his “Party of Regions.”
Altogether, the indictment lists twelve counts, which are outlined below:
1. Conspiracy Against the United States: Despite what most liberals and their media outlets were hoping for, this charge has to do with an illegal agreement to carry out criminal acts that “defraud” the federal government. In this case those acts were the banking and foreign agent registration charges in counts three-six and ten-twelve. As with other federal felony conspiracy charges, this count carries a maximum of 5 years in prison
2. Conspiracy to Launder Money: Another illegal agreement, this charge stems from the alleged decision to devise a scheme to conceal the source and existence of the money from Yanokovych and other clients. Given the amount in question, this charge could carry up to 20 years in prison.
3 – 9. Failure to File Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts: These counts are related to the two men’s alleged foreign accounts. They are accused of not filing the necessary reports on these holdings. These counts carry 10 year maximum penalty.
10. Unregistered Agent of a Foreign Principle: This is the allegation Manafort and Gates acted as lobbyists for Yanokovych without registering as foreign agents with the government. It carries a maximum five year penalty.
11. False and Misleading FARA Statements: This is a more specific allegation of Manafort and Gates’s misconduct under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The men are lying as to the exact nature of their work in on Yanokovych’s behalf when they did FARA paperwork in 2016. As with Count 10, this carries a maximum five year penalty.
12. False Statements: This count refers to the same statements as the count above. It is a more general version of the charge for making false statements to the government as opposed to the specific FARA violations. It also carries a five year maximum.