Manafort May Have Bail Revoked And Sit In Jail

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Late last night, federal prosecutors accused President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of attempting to tamper with witnesses in his federal tax and money laundering case.

In court documents, prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that violated the terms of Mr. Manafort’s release while he awaits trial. They asked a federal judge to revise those terms or send him to jail until trial.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Manafort tried to contact witnesses by phone, through an intermediary and through an encrypted messaging program. One witness told the F.B.I. that Mr. Manafort was trying to “suborn perjury,” prosecutors said. Two witnesses provided the texts to the F.B.I., which also searched Mr. Manafort’s cloud-based Apple account, according to court records.

Manafort is accused of violating federal lobbying, tax and money laundering laws as part of a complicated scheme in which he lobbied for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine and hid proceeds in foreign bank accounts.

In court documents, prosecutors accused Mr. Manafort of trying to reach members of a public relations firm who could get word to the Europeans and help shape their story. “They should say their lobbying and public relations work was exclusively in Europe,” one of the public relations officials told the F.B.I. according to court documents.

Prosecutors provided the judge a summary of contacts that they said were made from February to April, while Mr. Manafort was under house arrest on a $10 million bond.

If this is true, it would have been a moronic act of galactic proportions. However, Manafort has long had a reputation for incautious and questionable tactics.  Indeed, the indictment documents his array of questionable clients and activities.

The biggest danger for the Trump team would be the jailing of Manafort, who is already under considerable pressure to cooperate.  From the unnecessary no-knock raid on his home to this filing, they are continuing to squeeze Manafort.  The timing is notable.  While the Trump is offering the prospect of a pardon, Mueller could be offering the certainty of jail.