A U.S. federal judge on Friday ordered Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, to go to jail ahead of his trial on money laundering, tax and bank fraud charges. During Manafort's hearing, an attorney on the special counsel's team, Greg Andres, characterized Manafort's outreach to possible witnesses as "a sustained campaign", adding that nothing short of jail could prevent Manafort from repeating the alleged infraction. That decision came after Mueller accused Manafort of witness tampering.
Mr Manafort is now confined to his home in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, and forced to wear a Global Positioning System monitoring device. When Manafort was first arraigned and pleaded not guilty back in October, bail was set at $10 million and his passports were confiscated.
Manafort will remain in jail while awaiting those trials in coming months.
It was not immediately clear where Manafort will be held, but any jail cell represents a significant downgrade.
No one on the campaign, including Manafort, has been charged with a crime directly related to Russian attempts to sway the election.
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She revoked Mr Manafort's bail, saying she had no choice but to lock him up because she couldn't stop him from having contact with people.
Today, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed.
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. Jailing Manafort gives Special Counsel Robert Mueller more leverage as Manafort weighs whether to cooperate and spill any secrets he knows about Trump and the campaign.
"I feel bad about a lot of it because I think a lot of it is very unfair", he said.
The charges do not relate to Manafort's work on the Trump campaign or involve allegations of Russian election interference, a fact that the president has routinely noted as he tried to distance himself from his former top campaign adviser.
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Manafort resigned in August 2016 following a news report he had received possibly illegal payments from Yanukovych's political party.
Mr Manafort also pleaded not guilty to the latest indictment yesterday.
The witnesses worked with Manafort in organizing a group of former European officials who lobbied within the USA without registering as required by law.
The Manafort case focuses on his work between 2004 and 2014 in Ukraine for pro-Russia politicians including former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. But last week's superseding indictment from Mueller's office alleged that Manafort and Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, who was also indicted, attempted to influence two witnesses who were being used in the case against him. It's not clear exactly what Manafort knows, but he does appear to be a linchpin between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.
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