Manafort jailed before trial on new obstruction charges

Manafort jailed before trial on new obstruction charges

June 15 (UPI) — A federal judge on Friday revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail pending his trial, citing new obstruction charges that include witness tampering.

Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was under house arrest after posting a $10 million bond for his trial, which includes charges for money laundering and false statements.

U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail after prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller filed two new counts of obstruction of justice against Manafort.

The new charges accuse Manafort and associate Konstantin V. Kilimnik of contacting two witnesses this year with hopes to persuade their testimony.

Prosecutors said Manafort is a “danger to the community” and said he carried out a “sustained campaign of over five weeks” using different phones and apps to try to mold witness testimony.

Defense attorneys argued revoking his bail is too harsh and said their client did not know which witnesses the government had lined up.

Jackson said she doubts she could draft a clear enough order for Manafort to follow.

“This is not middle school,” Jackson said. “I can’t take his cell phone.”

Manafort maintains his innocence and has also entered a not guilty plea to charges brought against him last week — witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

In total, Manafort faces seven criminal charges in Washington, D.C., federal court and another 18 criminal charges in Virginia federal court for financial fraud and false reporting.