WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is going to jail.
On Friday, Manafort was ordered into custody after a federal judge revoked his house arrest, citing newly filed obstruction of justice charges. The move by US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson made Manafort the first Trump campaign official to be jailed as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Already under intense pressure to cooperate with prosecutors in hopes of securing leniency, Manafort now loses the relative freedom he enjoyed while he prepared for two criminal trials in which he faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.
In issuing her ruling, Jackson said she had “struggled” with the decision but she couldn’t “turn a blind eye” to his conduct. “You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,” she said.
A federal grand jury indicted Manafort and a longtime associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, last week on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, adding to the multiple felony counts he already faced. The charges do not relate to his work on the Trump campaign or involve allegations of Russian election interference.
Manafort, 69, and Kilimnik are accused of attempting to tamper with witnesses in the case by trying to get them to lie about the nature of their Ukrainian political work. Prosecutors say Manafort and Kilimnik tried to get the two witnesses to say that lobbying work carried out by clandestinely paid former politicians only occurred in Europe and not the US, a contention the two witnesses said they knew to be false.
Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2018
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