It seems Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally has Paul Manafort right where he wants him – behind bars.
The judge overseeing the case against the former Trump campaign executive has ruled that the witness tampering charges levied against Manafort a week ago are serious enough to justify canceling his house arrest terms. Manafort will now be sent to jail to wait out the remainder of the time until his trial, Bloomberg reports.
This is a coup for Mueller – who has been trying to exert as much pressure as possible on Manafort to try to convince him to cooperate against his former boss.
Video footage recorded earlier showed Manafort heading into court as a group of maybe two or three people chanted “lock him up.”
According to NBC News, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that Manafort’s repeated attempts to contact a witness constituted a danger to the integrity of the court. She added she couldn’t propose another, less restrictive, order. “This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone,” Jackson said. Manafort was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges back in October, and has since been charged with tax fraud and failing to report foreign bank accounts in a separate case in Virginia – a case that is due to go to trial in July. And of course last week Mueller filed a superseding indictment charging Manafort and Ukrainian associate Konstantin Kilimnik with obstruction and witness tampering. Both men were also due to be arraigned on those charges today.
One of Mueller’s witnesses for the “witness tampering” charge said he felt an attempted outreach by Manafort was intended to “subborn perjury.” Of course, none of the charges Manafort is facing stem from his work for Trump.
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