April 2, 2023

Paul Manafort is going to jail.

A federal judge ordered President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to jail as he awaits separate trials on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges brought forward by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The judge revoked Manafort’s bail following allegations that he had reached out to potential witnesses in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election while on house arrest.

“I cannot turn a blind eye to this,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a Washington courtroom, rejecting a suggestion by Manafort’s lawyer Richard Westling that she release Manafort with more restrictions, according to NBC News.

“This is not middle school. I can’t take his cellphone,” Jackson said.

Manafort’s first trial is scheduled to start in late July in U.S. District Court in Virginia. His second is schedule to begin in September in a D.C. federal court.

NBC reports that Manafort “did not appear to react to the ruling beyond a nod to his attorney. He was immediately taken into custody and walked into a hallway behind the courtroom. He gave a quick wave to his wife as he disappeared from sight.”

In response to news that his former campaign chairman will be going to jail, Trump tweeted,”Wow what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns.”

“Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!” Trump concluded.

The news comes one week after the special counsel indicted Manafort – again. The former Trump campaign manager was charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering, alongside Konstantin Kilimnik, a close business associate from Russia.

Mueller’s team said they had obtained encrypted messaging, call records, and witness testimony sent by the former campaign chairman to back up the claim that he was trying to shape potential witnesses’ testimonies. They also said Manafort violated his conditions of release.

Early on Friday, reporters outside the White House asked about the president about Manafort. He said, “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. I feel a little badly about it.”

“You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time,” the president continued. “He worked for Ronald Reagan. He worked for Bob Dole. He worked for many other he worked for me, what, 49 days or something. Very short period of time.”

Before Friday, Manafort had been placed on house arrest, outfitted with two GPS ankle monitors while awaiting a trial set for the early fall.

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