Ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort's spokesman goes before Russia probe grand jury
Paul Manafort (Photo: Screen capture)

The spokesman for President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was testifying before a federal grand jury on Friday in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Jason Maloni, the founder of the crisis public relations firm JadeRoq LLC, smiled as he entered the federal courthouse on Friday.

Mueller is investigating Manafort's financial and real estate dealings as well as his prior work for the Party of Regions, a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, that backed former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovich.

Mueller's investigators are examining potential money laundering by Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, as well as other possible financial crimes, sources have told Reuters.

Manafort is considered a major focus of Mueller's investigation due to his senior role in Trump's presidential campaign.

Manafort was also present at a June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who offered to provide damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Others at that meeting included the president's son, Donald Trump, Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, among others.

Russia has denied any meddling in the election and Trump has denied any collusion.

Earlier this year, Manafort's Virginia home was raided by FBI agents.

Maloni, as Manafort's spokesman, had told reporters that Manafort "has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well."

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)