Judge orders ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to jail

Judge jails ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort pending trial, citing obstruction charges

Judge jails ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort pending trial, citing obstruction charges

Judge Amy Berman Jackson made the decision to revoke Manafort's bail based on accusations of witness tampering after he contacted potential witnesses in his upcoming conspiracy trial.

Manafort is under investigation for his alleged role with Russia's possible meddling in the 2016 presidential election along with conspiracy to launder money and defraud the USA, which he has plead not guilty to, Reuters reported.

Other legal scholars say that while Trump could wield his pardon power in this way, it would be hard to prove intent to obstruct justice by pardoning his friends and aides - for instance, if he were to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is now cooperating with Manafort. "Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign", Trump told reporters gathered on the White House north lawn on Friday, adding, "Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time".

Manafort turned around briefly to wave to his wife in the front row before heading out a door at the back of the courtroom, court witnesses said.

Manafort faces a trial before Jackson on September 17 and a trial on July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, on bank- and tax-fraud charges.

Sources close to President Trump's legal team told ABC News they were "stunned" by the decision.

Last year Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty after being indicted on 12 counts, including charges of conspiracy against the US.

Mr Mueller, whose investigation has overshadowed Mr Trump's presidency, is investigating whether the president's 2016 campaign colluded with Russian Federation and whether Mr Trump has unlawfully sought to obstruct the inquiry.

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The order marks an end to months of attempts from Manafort to lighten his house arrest restrictions after he was charged and pleaded not guilty to foreign lobbying violations. "I can't take away his cellphone", she said during the 90-minute court hearing.

Defence attorneys said Manafort didn't know who the government witnesses are.

The blunt remarks came the same day that Manafort was ordered to jail amid allegations of witness tampering.

Prosecutors alleged that by committing a new crime while on release, Manafort violated the terms of his home confinement in Alexandria, Virginia, and they asked the judge to revoke or revise it.

Mr Manafort's lawyers said in a response filed with the court that his "limited communications" did not "reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".

But Manafort worked on the campaign for a critical period in the campaign, from April to August, 2016, which included the latter critical stages of securing delegates to win the nomination, and then to the Republican convention. Manafort is accused of money laundering, as well as tax and bank fraud charges. Kilimnik, whom Mueller's office says has ties to Russian intelligence, could not be reached for comment.

Manafort's attorneys argued that his "innocuous" contacts with witnesses was twisted into a "sinister plot" of witness tampering by prosecutors.

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