U.S. judge sends Manafort to jail pending trial

Hearing on alleged witness tampering could send Paul Manafort to jail while he awaits trial

U.S. judge sends Manafort to jail pending trial

Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked Manafort's bail over claims he was tampering with witnesses in the case against him brought by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

Prosecutors argued on Friday that Manafort could continue to engage in alleged criminal activity if he is not jailed. New charges filed last week in the case accused Donald Trump's former campaign manager of tampering with witnesses in the case pending in Washington DC, which has nothing to do with the 2016 election.

The judge rejected a request from Manafort's attorneys for him to remain under house arrest but refrain from using electronic devices.

None of Manafort's charges refer to the allegations of Russian meddling and largely pre-date the two months he worked as Trump campaign head. For his part, President Trump noted on Friday that Manafort only worked for him for a "very short period of time".

Manafort had been taking a cavalier approach to the court proceedings against him, and she said she was putting an end to it.

"You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago", Judge Amy Berman Jackson was quoted by the Washington Post as saying.

The revocation of Manafort's bail was a fresh sign of the looming collision course between Mueller and Trump, with the White House increasingly anxious that the president could face obstruction of justice charges and an impeachment effort in Congress.

Prosecutors say Mr Manafort and Mr Kilimnik tried to get the two witnesses to say that lobbying work carried out by clandestinely paid former politicians only occurred in Europe and not the United States, a contention the two witnesses said they knew to be false. It involved claims that he acted as an unregistered agent of the government of Ukraine and its Russian-backed leader, Viktor Yanukovych, who was president from 2010 to 2014.

The charges against Mr Manafort in Washington include conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and failing to register as a foreign agent for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government under former President Viktor Yanukovych.

The witnesses worked with Manafort in organizing a group of former European officials who lobbied within the US without registering as required by law.

A prosecutor on Mueller's team brought up the allegation during Manafort's hearing on Friday, according to Politico.

Manafort, 69, earlier on June 15 had pleaded not guilty to the charges in an arraignment before the judge.

Mueller insists Manafort's case falls within his jurisdiction because of his connection with both the Trump campaign and to officials in Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Already, Mueller has secured the cooperation of Manafort's top business deputy Rick Gates, who also served on Trump's campaign and was associated with Trump's inner circle well after Manafort left the campaign.

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