Federal Judge Jails Paul Manafort: No Bail Before Trial

Paul Manafort
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

A federal judge has jailed ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort ahead of his fall trial, citing recently filed obstruction charges.

“I cannot turn a blind eye to this,” Judge Amy Berman told a D.C. courtroom as she revoked Manafort’s bail. “This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone.”

Andrew Weissman, special counsel Robert Mueller’s leading prosecutor, filed an 18-page motion early this month the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking Judge Amy Berman to determine if Manafort violated the terms of his bail by possibly influencing witnesses testimony.

“According to an FBI affidavit included with the motion, Manafort used encrypted messaging applications in February to try to reach two unnamed business partners who could be witnesses to his alleged fraud and money laundering,” NBC reports.

Mueller indicted the former campaign chairman in both Virginia and Washington on charges ranging from money laundering to conspiracy against the United States. The veteran Republican lobbyist, who has been under house arrest since last October, is accused of contacting a staffer of the public relations firm behind lobby efforts for the Ukraine.

According to Weissman, the former Trump campaign chairman allegedly called the public relations staff, referred to as “D1,” while driving with his wife in Italy.

“This is Paul, Paul Manafort. I need to give you a heads up about the Hapsburg Group,” Manafort said, according to court filings.

The staffer is said to have hung up on Manafort.

Manafort’s trail in Washington is scheduled to take place in September.

Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney, told ABC News he has no comment on the judge revoking his client’s bail.

“Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni told Breitbart News in a statement June 5. “We will do our talking in court.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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