Paul Manafort to be Jailed Following Witness Tampering Allegation
WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort is going to jail.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office convinced a federal judge on Friday to revoke the bail of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief after he was accused of witness tampering.
The move dramatically ratchets up pressure on Manafort, 69, as Mueller continues to investigate whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort, who was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges with ex-business partner Rick Gates in October, had been largely confined to his home, tethered to two GPS ankle monitors while awaiting a trial set for the early fall.
But prosecutors made a new bid to toss him behind bars after uncovering evidence that allegedly shows that he and a Russian associate used encrypted messages to reach out to two witnesses — one of whom said it was an attempt to “suborn perjury.”
In court filings, defense lawyers accused Mueller’s office of “heavy-handed gamesmanship” and argued text messages and an 84-second phone call were “the thinnest of evidence.”
But after a hearing in federal court in Washington, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Manafort locked up.
Manafort and his associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, were also set to be arraigned on obstruction charges tied to the witness tampering allegation.
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