Manafort Jailed for Contacting Witnesses

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered Paul Manafort to jail Friday over charges he tampered with witnesses while out on bail, the Washington Post reports. It was major blow for President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he awaits trial on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges next month. “You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort. “…the defendant will be detained.” The judge said sending Manafort to a cell was “an extraordinarily difficult decision” but said his conduct — allegedly contacting witnesses in the case in an effort to get them to lie to investigators — left her little choice.

“This is not middle school. I can’t take away his cellphone,” she said. “If I tell him not to call 56 witnesses, will he call the 57th?” She said she should not have to draft a court order spelling out the entire criminal code for him to avoid violations. “This hearing is not about politics. It is not about the conduct of the office of special counsel. It is about the defendant’s conduct,” Jackson said. “I’m concerned you seem to treat these proceedings as another marketing exercise.” Defense attorney Richard Westling urged the judge not to send him to jail, saying that it was not required by law and that doing so “will create more challenges for the defense, which already faces trial in two courts.” Manafort had been confined to his home on electronic monitoring and other restrictions since he was indicted Oct. 27 during special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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