By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — A U.S. judge has jailed Paul Manafort, who served as U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign manager during the 2016 presidential campaign, after revoking his bail ahead of a trial on charges brought by the special counsel investigating alleged Russian election interference.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on June 15 revoked Manafort’s $10 million bail after prosecutors alleged that the former campaign chief had engaged in witness-tampering practices.
The judge said that, although she had “struggled” with the decision, she couldn’t “turn a blind eye” to his behavior.
“You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,” she added.
Manafort, 69, earlier on June 15 had pleaded not guilty to the charges in an arraignment before the judge.
Manafort has been out on bail and house arrest awaiting two trials on charges brought by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller that include fraud, money-laundering, and failing to register as a foreign agent. Manafort has also pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Mueller has been tasked with investigating interactions between Trump associates and Russian officials. In all, his criminal probe has brought indictments against 20 people and three companies on various related charges.
In recent months, Trump has stepped up his attacks against Mueller’s efforts, calling the investigation a “witch hunt” and asserting that the investigators were biased against him.
In a June 15 tweet following the judge’s decision to revoke Manafort’s bail, Trump called the ruling “very unfair.”
In a June 4 court filing, Mueller alleged that while out on bail, Manafort “repeatedly” tried to communicate with two people from an informal group of former European politicians he had worked with previously to promote the interests of Viktor Yanukovych, the Moscow-friendly former president of Ukraine.
The court filing said the FBI had documents, statements, and telephone records showing that he attempted to communicate with the potential witnesses in February in violation of the terms of his release on bail.
Manafort was indicted in that case along with longtime associate Konstantin Kilimnik.
Manafort was fired from the Trump campaign in August 2016 after revelations of a secret financial ledger in Ukraine that documented payments to him from Yanukovych’s political party
Kilimnik, whom U.S. authorities suspect of having ties to Russian intelligence, served as Manafort’s point man in Ukraine. He is now believed to be in Russia and has told RFE/RL on two separate occasions that he had no links to Russian intelligence.
Manafort is facing charges in two jurisdictions. He is scheduled to go to trial in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 25 and in Washington, D.C., in September.
While most of the charges against Manafort predate his work for Trump, some relate to activities that took place into 2017, including alleged bank fraud and money laundering, according to prosecutors.
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