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June 16, 2018

Paul Manifort has bail revoked ... and has not (yet) gotten rescued from jail by Prez Trump's clemency pen

As detailed in this CNN piece, a very prominent federal defendant grew the number of Americans incarcerated yesterday when he had his bail revoked and was taken immediately to jail:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will await his trial for foreign lobbying charges from jail.  Two weeks after special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors dropped new accusations of witness tampering on him, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday revoked Manafort's bail, which had allowed him to live in his Alexandria, Virginia, apartment under house arrest.

The order marked an end to almost eight months of attempts by Manafort to lighten his house arrest restrictions after he was charged and pleaded not guilty to foreign lobbying violations. "The harm in this case is harm to the administration of justice and harm to the integrity of the court's system," Berman Jackson told Manafort in court.

The judge emphasized to Manafort how she could not make enough rulings to keep him from speaking improperly with witnesses, after he had used multiple text messaging apps and called a potential witness on an Italian cellphone.  "This is not middle school. I can't take his cellphone," she said of Manafort.  "I thought about this long and hard, Mr. Manafort. I have no appetite for this."

Manafort also entered a not guilty plea to two additional charges levied against him last week, of witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In total, he faces seven criminal charges in DC federal court. Three US marshals led Manafort out of the packed courtroom into the prisoner holding area immediately after the judge's ruling. He was not placed in handcuffs. Before he disappeared through the door, he turned toward his wife and supporters and gave a stilted wave.

Minutes later, a marshal returned to give Manafort's wife, Kathleen, still standing in the courtroom's front row, his wallet, belt and the burgundy tie he wore Friday. Court marshals held Manafort in the bowels of the courthouse for several hours following the hearing as they considered how to keep him protected from other inmates behind bars. He arrived about 8 p.m. at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, 90 miles south of Washington.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said the decision to revoke Manafort's bail was "tough," although he referred to it as a "sentence."

I cannot help but recall in this context the decision by Prez George W. Bush, made just under 11 years ago as reported here, to commute the entire prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to spare him from having to serve his 30 month prison term after his conviction in the CIA leak case.  Notably, Prez Bush's clemency grant came down just a few hours after the DC Circuit refused to allow Libby to remain free on bail during the appeal of his conviction and sentence.  In other words, as soon as Libby was subject to spending even an hour incarcerated, Prez Bush was moved to act to keep him free.  Paul Manafort, notably, has not (yet) gotten the presidential consideration as he has now already spent one (of likely many) nights in jail without even yet having been convicted of anything.  

June 16, 2018 at 12:08 PM | Permalink


@Doug Are you related to Amy Berman in any way?

While I think the underlying charges have merit I'm frankly skeptical of the witness tampering charges. The indictment made Manafort's activity sound more like standard media relations, not a threat to the justice system. Maybe this is a way to force Trump's hand so they can avoid the farce of a trial????

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 16, 2018 2:56:38 PM

This is a good idea. It sets a precedent to imprison political opponents on Trumped up charges. Two sides can play this game.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 16, 2018 4:26:22 PM

Dan. Naturally, Judge Amy Berman Jackson is an Obama, Democratic Party attack dog. She was radicalized at Harvard Law School, and is a far left, extremist fringe, nutty feminist.

Republicans members of the Deep State will not impeach this unethical judge.

The defense lawyer collaborators with the enemies of our nation failed to demand her recusal for her extreme hate and bias.

This is a brief review of the career of this biased feminist abomination.


Posted by: David Behar | Jun 16, 2018 4:33:08 PM

"The harm in this case is harm to the administration of justice and harm to the integrity of the court's system,"

To put it as delicately and precisely as I can - What a croc of BS! There has been absolutely zero integrity (I take the word to mean intellectual honesty) in our courts and Justus System in eons, as exemplified by Mueller and this so-called judge. The judge couldn't spell integrity if you spotted her 8 of the 9 letters. She means pseudo, i.e., make believe pop integrity.

Posted by: albeed | Jun 16, 2018 10:24:34 PM

Your turn will come, Democratic Party operatives. You will be sent to prison for your misdeeds filling out forms ten years ago.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 17, 2018 12:12:27 AM

Daniel: I am not related in any way to Amy Berman Jackson.

Posted by: Doug B | Jun 17, 2018 10:43:29 AM

Lord have mercy . . . .

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 17, 2018 2:13:26 PM

It's worth keeping in mind that Scooter Libby and Paul Manafort are truly apples and oranges. Libby went through the whole investigation and trial to verdict, while Manafort is still in pretrial proceedings. More to the point, during the pendency of Scooter's case Mrs. Libby had made it clear, sotto voce, that he would flip (presumably on Cheney and maybe on Bush, too) if he were to spend even a day behind bars. The commutation of his sentence both freed him from the possibility of incarceration and managed to keep him muzzled. Had he been pardoned he would have had no Fifth Amendment (or other) privilege to keep him from being compelled to testify against his former bosses. Which is why I always thought Cheney's militating for a pardon in the waning days of the Bush administration was so much show, sound and fury signifying nothing.

Posted by: scribe | Jun 18, 2018 8:52:26 PM

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