Judge cracks down on Manafort in stern warning

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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was not happy about Paul Manafort’s recent editorial efforts, and she said he shouldn’t be trying his case in the press.

After Manafort was caught ghost-writing an opinion piece published last week in a Ukraine English newspaper, the judge warned him that if he did it again, it would be considered a violation of her gag order.

“Mr. Manafort, that order applies to you, and not just your lawyer,” Jackson said.

In November, Manafort, President Donald J. Trump’s former campaign chairman, and his business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States.

“The indictment contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

In late November, Manafort allegedly edited an op-ed that was published in the Kyiv Post last week. The article, which appeared under the name of a former Ukraine official, reportedly discussed Manafort’s consulting work in Ukraine, a large part of the case against him.

Judge Jackson had ordered in November that involved parties–Manafort and the prosecution–were blocked from discussing the case in public, to include drafting opinion essays published in other countries.

Judge Jackson told Manafort that his editing of the op-ed is not something she is going to tolerate. She also denied Manafort liberation from house arrest for now. Manafort had been working with Mueller’s team to secure a bail deal.

According to court documents, defense attorneys presented “an agreed-upon bail package” with Mueller’s team in the early December, by which Manafort would forfeit four properties he owns, estimated to be valued at $11 million.

The agreement was written up before the op-ed was reported to the court.

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