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.
“I can not turn a blind eye to this”, Berman said, according to news reports.
President Trump decried on Twitter the “tough sentence” handed down to Paul Manafort Friday – an apparent reference to a judge’s decision to put the former Trump campaign chairman in jail pending his trial.
None of Manafort’s charges refer to the allegations of Russian meddling and largely pre-date the two months he worked as Trump campaign head during which the businessman and former reality TV star won the Republican Party nomination. Speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, Trump insisted that Manafort only worked on the campaign “for a very short period of time”.
However, as Manafort’s legal and financial troubles have come increasingly to light, Trump and his associates have tried to downplay the role he played in the campaign.
That’s when we started investigating”, Andres said, adding: “There is no way to monitor Mr. Manafort’s communications. He faces several felony charges – including tax evasion, bank fraud, money-laundering conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent – related to his Ukrainian political work, money he funneled through offshore accounts and loans he took out on property in the U.S. Manafort hasn’t been convicted of any crimes or sentenced.
Prosecutors haven’t tied Manafort, Gates and Kilimnik’s alleged wrongdoings to the actions of the Trump campaign, which is at the core of Mueller’s investigation.
That means Mueller’s team could serve Manafort with a grand jury subpoena after he is pardoned, forcing him to be a witness against a bigger target.
Trump has denounced the Mueller probe as a political “witch hunt” and denied there was any collusion with Russian Federation by members of his election campaign.
“I feel bad about a lot of it because I think a lot of it is very unfair”, he said.
In February, he pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, illegal lobbying and lying, setting up the first trial to result from Mueller’s investigation, due to begin on September 17.
He is now in jail while he awaits trial.
While out on bail, prosecutors say, Manaforttried to contact a pair of former journalists who’d worked on the lobbying, asking them to characterize their work as excluding the U.S.
Defence attorneys said Manafort didn’t know who the government witnesses are.
Konstantin Kilimnik was recently and newly named along with Manafort in the attempted witness tampering indictment.
He is said to have made tens of millions of dollars from a campaign to bolster that government’s reputation within Europe and the USA, but not to have registered this work. Mueller’s office has described Kilimnik as a Russian intelligence asset who was active through the 2016 election.
Andres summarized what he called “a sustained campaign over a five-week period” by Manafort to reach the two witnesses and influence their testimony.
Manafort’s attorneys argued that his “innocuous” contacts with witnesses was twisted into a “sinister plot” of witness tampering by prosecutors.