On Friday at 10 AM EST sharp, the moment everyone’s been waiting for finally arrived: Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, the only co-conspirator of the president’s who has been indicted and not pled guilty, appeared in court to face his arraignment and possible imprisonment as he awaits trial.
He arrived roughly 30 minutes early, and as he exited his car, shouts of “Lock him up!” chased him all the way into the courthouse:
Paul Manafort hurries into courthouse to sparse chants of “Lock him up!” pic.twitter.com/rG4PBSaXjS
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) June 15, 2018
At issue today are not only the felony counts of money laundering, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and a host of other crimes, but also whether or not Manafort violated the terms of his bail agreement when he was found in February to have been sending text messages to possible witnesses in his case in order to affect their testimony about him. Also charged with the witness tampering Manafort is accused of is Konstantin Kilimnik, the suspected Russian spy who acted as Manafort’s personal translator when he worked for the now-disgraced, pro-Russia former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.
Many reporters have been on the scene all morning; Buzzfeed‘s Zoe Tillman has been providing live updates. At one point she tweeted that Special Counsel lawyers were arguing strenuously for Manafort to be detained in prison awaiting his trial:
Special counsel lawyer said they didn’t believe there were any conditions that could assure the court Manafort would comply with orders if he is released again, saying he engaged in a “sustained campaign.” Manafort’s lawyer argued there should just be a clearer “no contact” order
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) June 15, 2018
Manafort’s fraud and money laundering charges may pale in comparison with the implications of his failure to register as a foreign agent — if prosecutors tie his accomplice Kilimnik to Russian intelligence.
In the end, Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail — indicating not only that he had already violated the terms of it, but that he was likely to do it again.
This is a breaking story, and will be updated as necessary.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery