A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort will be sent to jail while he awaits his trial, following last week’s indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller on obstruction of justice charges.
The 69-year-old had been under house arrest since his first indictments from Mueller last October, but the federal judge revoked the bail after the Mueller’s office accused Manafort of witness tampering and indicted him last Friday on obstruction of justice charges.
Since October, Manafort had posted bail for $10 million and was awaiting arraignment in his Alexandria, Virginia home. But last week’s superseding indictment from Mueller’s office alleged that Manafort and Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, who was also indicted, attempted to influence two witnesses who were being used in the case against him. The two witnesses were not identified in the filing.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia, who ordered the incarceration Friday, said she had decided to take this step because less drastic measures would have been insufficient. “This isn’t middle school,” she said, according to reports from reporters in the courtroom. “I can’t just take your phone.”
Manafort’s federal trial is slated for September in Washington, D.C. He will also face a federal trial in Virginia in July for related tax and bank fraud charges.
President Donald Trump reacted to the news on Twitter, incorrectly saying that Manafort had been sentenced, and implying the entire process was unfair, given Manafort’s past political experience.
Mueller’s office indicted Manafort in October on five charges: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act statements and false statements. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.
Manafort was brought in to the campaign in March of 2016, largely to save Trump, who was then the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, from getting overthrown on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He resigned that August.
However, as Manafort’s legal and financial troubles have come increasingly to light, Trump and his associates have tried to downplay the role he played in the campaign. Trump told reporters Friday – before the announcement of Manafort’s incarceration that “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign,” and that he only “worked for me for a very short period of time.”
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