Paul Manafort Jailed for Alleged Witness Tampering

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Paul Manafort should have packed his toothbrush before going to court.

That's because he wasn't going home after Judge Amy Berman Jackson sent him to jail for allegedly tampering with witnesses while he was out on bail. Jackson said she had no choice.

"I cannot turn a blind eye to this," she said in the Washington courtroom. "This is not middle-school. I can't take away his cell phone."

Now Manafort is in jail -- without his toothbrush or his cell phone.

Awaiting Trial

Manafort, 69, will spend the next few months in jail awaiting trial on conspiracy and money laundering charges. The witness tampering charges will play out separately. None of the charges relate to meddling in the 2016 election.

However, reactions outside the courtroom drew as much attention as inside because Manafort was President Trump's campaign chairman. Trump told reporters that Manafort only worked for him "49 days or something."

Manafort, an attorney and lobbyist, worked for the Trump campaign from March to August in 2016. He was indicted in October 2017, and had been on house arrest since then.

The latest charges came from special counsel Robert Mueller, who alleges that Manafort tried to tamper with witnesses in his investigation. One witness says Manafort was attempting to "suborn perjury."

"Not About Politics"

Judge Jackson told Manafort and his lawyers that the hearing was not about politics or the special counsel.

"It is about the defendant's conduct," she said. "I'm concerned you seem to treat these proceedings as another marketing exercise."

Prosecutors say Manafort was part of a secret conspiracy to launder more than $30 million over a decade while lobbying for a pro-Russian former politician in Ukraine. He faces separate charges for tax and bank fraud in Virginia.

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