A federal judge in Washington, D.C., revoked Paul Manafort’s bail on Friday, saying he'd have to go to jail following allegations that he’d tried to tamper with witnesses because, "This isn't middle school. I can't take your phone."
President Trump's former campaign manager had arrived in court looking cool and collected, and grinning slightly as he strode past the press. But after the order came down in the courtroom, Manafort, 69, stood and gave a faint wave to his wife before being escorted out of view through a door behind the bench and taken into custody.
A few minutes later, a marshal brought Manafort’s wife his wallet, belt and the tie he’d worn to his trial that day.
He will spend the time between now and the start of his trial in September (he has another in late July) in prison rather than on house arrest wearing ankle monitors, as he's been since last October. He has been charged with a long list of federal crimes, ranging from money laundering to tax evasion, conspiracy and failure to register as a foreign agent.
The new tampering charges came after special counsel Robert Mueller unearthed texts sent over encrypted messaging applications that showed Manafort attempting to make contact with witnesses in his case. Prosecutors allege Manafort was trying to get his former colleagues to lie about the scope of their activity, in the hopes that they would tell investigators that all of his lobbying took place in Europe. It’s a crime to lobby on the part of another government in the U.S. without disclosing ties.
During the hearing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson reprimanded Manafort for misbehaving while out on bail, saying, “This is not the first time we’ve had to talk to you about the rules, and about you skating close to the line.”
“This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone,” said Jackson during the hearing on Friday, explaining why his bail was being revoked.
Yet she said she’d “wrestled” with the question of whether he should remain on house arrest.
Manafort’s lawyer previously argued, unsuccessfully, that Manafort couldn’t have been tampering with witnesses because he couldn't have possibly known that they might be called as witnesses.
President Trump, meanwhile, has been trying to distance himself from Manafort. During an impromptu press gaggle on Friday, Trump said, “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign,” before clarifying his false statement with another false statement, that Manafort had only worked for the campaign for 49 days. Manafort, in fact, worked for the campaign for five months.
A few hours later, he called the sentence "very unfair!"
Cover image: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, exits the District Courthouse after a motion hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Friday, May 4, 2018. Manafort this week asked a judge to dismiss one of several tax counts against him in a Virginia indictment seeking a dismissal of a count accusing him with failing to file a foreign bank and financial accounts report for 2011. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images