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Paul Manafort heads to jail after judge faults witness tampering

18 June, 2018, 04:47 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Last week Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted Manafort on a new charge of witness tampering and had asked for his bail to be revoked

A federal judge revoked Paul Manafort's bail on Friday, sending the former Trump campaign chair to jail ahead of his two trials on fraud charges. Prosecutors with the special counsel last week had asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to revise Manafort's bail conditions after Mueller presented evidence that Manafort had contacted and, they allege, tampered with potential witnesses.

"Paul Manafort, 69 years old, today is the first day of the rest of his life", he said.

"The danger is that Mr. Manafort will continue to commit crimes", prosecutor Greg Andres told the judge. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, which also include obstruction of justice.

He had been confined to that Alexandria, Virginia home since his arrest, and was forced to wear a Global Positioning System monitoring device.

His trial in Alexandria, the U.S. state of Virginia, on bank fraud charges is set in July, and a separate one in Washington, DC, for him on charges of money laundering and fraud conspiracy is scheduled for September.

Manafort will now have to prepare for two federal trials, one in Washington on September 17 and the other in Virginia on July 25, while locked up in a jail cell. The charges do not relate to his work on the Trump campaign or involve allegations of Russian election interference.

Manafort turned around briefly to wave to his wife before heading out a door at the back of the crowded courtroom, witnesses said.

Berman Jackson ruled Friday that Manafort will have to go to jail until his trial for alleged money laundering and acting as an unregistered foreign agent related to work he did for the Ukrainian government.

After Jackson's ruling, Trump tweeted that Manafort got a "tough sentence" - though he hasn't actually been sentenced for anything - and tried to downplay his involvement with the campaign.

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

The charges were brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is now investigation Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia.

The Hapsburg Group were onetime European politicians Manafort allegedly secretly paid more than two million euros ($2.5 million) to lobby for Yanukovych in 2012-2013.

Big news, of a sort anyway, in the ongoing special-counsel prosecution of Paul Manafort. Manafort's ex-business partner, Rick Gates, who was indicted with him in October, has already pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.

In response, prosecutors filed additional documents showing extensive lobbying contacts by the group in the US, which they said showed "the falsity of his representation".

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


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