Trump's Former Campaign Manager Jailed

Frederick Owens
June 18, 2018

A USA federal judge has revoked former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's bail and ordered him to jail pending trial, citing newly filed obstruction of justice charges.

Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian ties to President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, uncovered evidence allegedly showing that Manafort and a Russian associate used encrypted messages to contact witnesses in his case.

Mueller claims that between February 23 and April of this year, Manafort and Kilimnik tried to persuade witnesses with "intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding".

Manafort had been under house arrest after posting a $10M bond. The special counsel has hit Manafort with three superseding indictments in two federal courts - Washington, D.C., and Virginia - amounting to more than 40 charges related to money laundering, tax and bank fraud, conspiracy, and other financial crimes that largely predate his time on the Trump campaign.

The president incorrectly referred to Manafort's pretrial detention as a "tough sentence".

Prosecutors argued on Friday that Manafort could continue to engage in alleged criminal activity if he is not jailed.

"I can not turn a blind eye to this", Berman said, according to news reports.

Mueller insists Manafort's case falls within his jurisdiction because of his connection with both the Trump campaign and to officials in Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Kilimnik, whom USA authorities suspect of having ties to Russian intelligence, served as Manafort's point man in Ukraine.

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The group's work factors into an indictment against Manafort that accuses him of acting as an unregistered foreign agent by lobbying in the US on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

In addition to the texts and phone calls cited in the government's earlier filing, Andres said one of the witnesses had provided an affidavit through his lawyer about one call from Manafort that was completed.

"There is a history of deception on behalf of Mr. Manafort in this case", Andres said to the court.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to the latest indictment on Friday. One of the documents was a 2013 memo from Manafort to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ruling from the bench, she said she was not revoking Manafort's bail as punishment but because his attempts to contact witnesses constituted a danger to the court's integrity.

"I feel bad about a lot of it because I think a lot of it is very unfair", he said.

Legal experts say Mueller wants to keep applying pressure on Manafort to plead guilty and assist prosecutors as Gates did and is cooperating with the probe after cutting a plea deal.

The alleged coverup of the lobbying stems from work that prosecutors say Manafort, Kilimnik and others did with former European politicians, referred to informally as the "Hapsburg group", to advocate on Ukraine's behalf to USA and European officials.

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