Paul Manafort arrived in court on Friday to familiar sounds — chants of “Lock him up!”
Minutes later, a judge ordered that Manafort be held in jail until the start of his trial for a number of charges related to the Russia probe. As CNN reported, Special Counsel Robert Mueller lodged new charges of witness tampering against Manafort, who already faces the possibility of decades behind bars on charges of financial fraud.
Donald Trump’s former campaign manager took the helm of his campaign just before the Republican National Convention, a four-day event that was filled with chants of “Lock her up!” aimed at Hillary Clinton. But it was Manafort who was headed to jail as a judge revoked his bail amid new charges in the Russia probe.
Manafort was originally freed on $10 million bail after pleading not guilty in October. A judge placed Manafort under house arrest and confiscated his passports as Manafort offered assets that included real estate and family members accounts, CNN reported.
Last week, Mueller’s Russia investigation offered evidence that Manafort had tried to contact witnesses in his case, asking them to lie about the lobbying they had done under him. That led a judge to revoke Manafort’s bail and order him to jail as he awaits trial.
Manafort’s lawyers had opposed Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s action, asking if there was a less restrictive measure she could take against Manafort and saying the instructions were not clear enough about which witnesses Manafort could not contact.
Jackson didn’t buy that line of argument, MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin noted.
“This isn’t middle school,” she said. “I can’t take your phone.”
Paul Manafort is not the only one to see the “Lock her up!” chants come back around on him. Michael Flynn, who was ousted from his brief tenure as National Security Adviser after it was revealed he lied about meetings with Kremlin-connected Russians, was also active in leading those chants at the Republican National Convention.
When Flynn was in court last December to plead guilty to charges that he lied to investigators, he too was met with chants of “Lock him up!”
With Paul Manafort now sitting in jail, many legal experts believe he will be much more inclined to work with investigators and against Donald Trump. As the Guardian reported earlier this year, there has been increasing pressure on Manafort after his former business associate, Rick Gates, flipped and began cooperating with investigators.