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Jun 15 2018

The Russian Connection: Locked Him Up

Not unexpectedly former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort had his bail revoked and was jailed for suspected tampering tampering. At his arraignment on the charges, federal Judge Amy Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia said that Manafort could not remain free under the circumstances and there was no way for her to impose stricter conditions. Jackson said she “could not turn a blind eye to this.” “This is not middle school,” she said during a 90-minute court hearing. “I can’t take away his cellphone.” She accused Manafort of endangering the integrity of the court by attempting to contact witnesses.

Judge Jackson said she was particularly disturbed that some of the contacts occurred after Mr. Manafort had been specifically ordered by another federal judge to avoid all contacts with witnesses involved in Mr. Mueller’s investigation or prosecution of him. That judge is overseeing a separate case in Northern Virginia, where Mr. Manafort faces additional charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and failure to report foreign bank accounts.

“I have no appetite for this,” Judge Jackson told Mr. Manafort shortly before he was led out of the courtroom to be transported to jail. “I have struggled with this decision.”

But she said that even if she explicitly ordered Mr. Manafort never to contact any of the government’s 56 witnesses, she could not be certain he would comply. “Will he call the 57th?” she asked. She also implied that she was running out of patience with Mr. Manafort’s explanations of his behavior, saying the case “continues to be to this minute extraordinary.”

Manafort, who is 69, will remain in custody until the conclusion of his two trials, one in Virginia on July 25 and in the District in September. Today may have been his last day of freedom. If found guilty of any or all of the dozens of charges he faces, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Manfort also becomes the first of Trump’s campaign staff to be imprisoned. He worked with Trump for 30 years and as his campaign manager for nearly 5 months, he chose Mike Pence to be the Vice President and was on Trump’s transition team.