Judge sets hearing on Manafort witness tampering allegations

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

WASHINGTON — A federal judge will weigh whether to jail former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort while he awaits trial after prosecutors accused him of making several attempts to tamper with witnesses in his criminal case.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday set a hearing for next week and gave Manafort until Friday to respond to the allegations made by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that Manafort and one of his associates “repeatedly” contacted two witnesses in an effort to influence their testimony.

Prosecutors say the contacts via phone and encrypted messaging applications occurred earlier this year, shortly after a grand jury returned a new indictment against Manafort and while he was confined to his home. The associate’s contacts occurred in February and April, they say.

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The filing marks the second time that Mueller’s team has accused Manafort of violating a judge’s order in the case. Late last year, federal agents discovered that Manafort was attempting to ghostwrite an opinion piece in Ukraine even though he was under a gag order in the case.