Feds charge 2 GOP operatives with funneling Russian's money to Trump campaign

Ron Paul and Jesse Benton
(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors have charged two longtime Republican operatives with helping a Russian national illegally contribute $25,000 to former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, keeping another $75,000 for themselves, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The two men, Jesse Benton, 43, and Doug Wead, 75, pleaded not guilty to six felony counts in a remote hearing Monday.

"The grand jury indictment alleges that Benton and Wead worked together to accept $100,000 from an unidentified Russian national in order to get the foreigner a meeting with then-candidate Trump at a fundraiser in Philadelphia on Sept. 22, 2016," Politico reports. "There is no indication in the indictment that Trump or his campaign aides were aware that the money originated with the Russian donor." The indictment says the Russian was photographed with Trump at the event, a Sept. 22, 2016, fundraiser in Philadelphia.

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