Saturday 20 October 2018

'You've abused the trust placed in you' - Former Trump campaign manager jailed ahead of criminal trial

Since Paul Manafort was first indicted last October, he has remained on home confinement, required to wear an electronic-monitoring device

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A federal judge on Friday revoked bail conditions for Paul Manafort, a move that will force U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman to spend his time in a jail cell awaiting his criminal trial.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson made the decision after prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, alleged that Manafort and one of his associates had tried to tamper with witnesses in the case.

Since Manafort was first indicted last October, he has remained on home confinement, required to wear an electronic-monitoring device. His trial is scheduled for September. His trial on related charges in Virginia is set for July.

Judge Berman Jackson said Manafort treated the court proceedings as "just another marketing exercise", adding "you've abused the trust placed in you".

Jackson had previously rebuffed Manafort's repeated requests to end his home confinement in exchange for pledging $10 million in real estate as collateral.

A June 8 indictment charged Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort aide and political operative with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, with tampering with witnesses about their past lobbying for Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.

The indictment accused Manafort and Kilimnik of attempting to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from a political discussion group - the so-called Hapsburg Group - that Manafort worked with to promote Ukraine's interests in a bid to sway their testimony.

Mueller's team this month asked the judge to revoke Manafort's bail, saying his "obstructive" conduct "instills little confidence that restrictions short of detention will assure Manafort's compliance with the court's orders and prevent him from committing further crimes."

Manafort has long-standing ties to a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin.

The charges against Manafort in Washington include conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States and failing to register as a foreign agent for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government under former President Viktor Yanukovych.

None of the charges against make reference to alleged Russian interference in the election nor the accusations of collusion between Moscow and Trump’s campaign. The Kremlin has denied meddling in the election.

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