In October 2017, President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on a litany of charges, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, and making false and misleading statements in documents filed and submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The FBI, in an investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was looking into connections between possible links and financial ties between Russia and Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Manafort was out on bail before trial on those charges, but no more. A federal judge revoked Manafort’s bail and ordered him to jail after Mueller’s team accused him of attempting to tamper with the testimony of two potential witnesses in his criminal case.
An additional indictment, filed last week, accused Manafort and longtime aide Konstantin Kilimnik of “knowingly and intentionally attempted to persuade” two unidentified persons with “intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding.” Prosecutors claim Manafort and Kilimnik (who is believed to have ties to Russian intelligence) sent phone and encrypted messages to two unidentified men, who perceived the messages as an attempt to persuade them to say that Manafort’s PR efforts in the Ukraine were focused on Europe, not the U.S. It was this lobbying that led to Manafort’s original indictment.
Manafort had been under house arrest pending trial, but U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered him remanded into custody following a hearing during which she concluded Manafort couldn’t be trusted to abide by any bail conditions she could impose as long as he was not in jail. “I am concerned you seem to treat these proceedings as just another marketing exercise,” Jackson said. “I have struggled with this decision,” the judge added. “This is not the first time we’ve had to talk about him skating close to the line.”
Bail to Jail
“Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns,” President Trump complained on Twitter. “Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!”
Manafort was escorted by marshals through one of the back courtroom doors, but where he’ll be detained while he awaits trial has not been announced.
- Mueller Keeps Tightening the Screws on Paul Manafort (The Washington Times)
- Paul Manafort Facing New Obstruction of Justice Charges (FindLaw Blotter)
- What Counts as Witness Intimidation? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Can You Have Multiple U.S. Passports? (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life)