Judge sends Manafort to jail after Mueller charges witness tampering

A federal judge ordered Paul Manafort to jail Friday after revoking the former Trump campaign chairman’s bail. 

Manafort appeared in court Friday after special counsel Robert Mueller asked a court to revoke Manafort’s pretrial release conditions due to his alleged attempted witness tampering.

{mosads}Mueller filed a superseding indictment against Manafort, who was already facing multiple charges related to financial crime, accusing him of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

The decision to jail Manafort ahead of his trial in September could put pressure on him to cooperate with investigators examining the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

Manafort was immediately taken into custody following the ruling and then taken to Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., according to CNN.

Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., to narrow restrictions on Manafort or send him to jail amid allegations that he tried to convince two potential witnesses to lie to investigators about lobbying work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The two witnesses reported Manafort’s alleged attempt to influence them to Mueller, according to The New York Times. In a court filing on Wednesday, prosecutors appeared to have inadvertently revealed the identities of those witnesses — previously only referred to as D1 and D2 — as Alan Friedman and Eckart Sager.

The two men worked with the Hapsburg group, a band of former senior European politicians who Manafort allegedly paid to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Manafort faced arraignment on the two obstruction of justice charges on Friday and entered not guilty pleas for both. 

Manafort had previously been facing a number of charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud, money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department for his work on behalf of Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government.

In a court filing this week, prosecutors provided two memos containing their evidence that Manafort orchestrated efforts to lobby U.S. lawmakers on behalf of Yanukovych.

On Friday, prosecutors argued that Manafort could continue to engage in alleged criminal activity if he is not jailed.

Prosecutors have complained in the past of Manafort’s behavior during his house arrest. In December, they alleged that Manafort violated a gag order by helping to author an op-ed in a Ukrainian newspaper defending his work in the country.

Trump and his associates have sought over the past year to distance themselves from Manafort. Speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, Trump insisted that Manafort only worked on the campaign “for a very short period of time.”

Updated June 16

Tags Paul Manafort Robert Mueller

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