Judge Orders Paul Manafort To Jail
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We are following breaking news this morning in the case related to President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was in a courtroom today. We're going to go live to Justice Department reporter Ryan Lucas, who is bringing us the latest. Ryan, what can you tell us about the judge's ruling this morning?
RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Well, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Paul Manafort is going to be detained pending trial. She said that the allegations and then charges that the special counsel's office brought against Manafort saying that he had engaged in witness tampering pose a danger to the integrity of the justice system, to the integrity of trial and said that, you know, this is a difficult decision for her, but ultimately, he cannot be trusted to follow any order that...
MARTIN: We should just say that he - I'm sorry to interrupt you - we should just say that he has been on house arrest. He has been waiting for his trial. But he has been confined to his home. And what this ruling says now is that he's going to jail to wait for this trial, right?
LUCAS: He's going to jail until trial, that is correct.
MARTIN: Can you remind us, what exactly is the thrust of this particular case and this charge?
LUCAS: Well, basically, in the past week or two, the special counsel alleged that Manafort had contacted two witnesses in the case who had worked on lobbying efforts related to Ukraine. Manafort, they say, had tried to influence the testimony that they would give and essentially said that what they were - what he was trying to do was make them provide false testimony.
And what they did after making these allegations is they actually brought down new charges alleging obstruction of justice and potential - conspiracy to obstruct justice, which the judge said that means that a grand jury found probable cause, which was troubling enough for her that she said that the only way to ensure that Manafort would not do this again would be to have him await trial in federal custody.
MARTIN: So we should say that Paul Manafort has pled not guilty, at least that was his plea before this announcement. Do we know how he's reacting to this latest move?
LUCAS: Well, this literally just happened in the past couple minutes. Manafort continues to fight all the charges against him, but certainly being locked up pending trial does raise the pressure on him for sure. Nobody really enjoys spending time in government detention awaiting trial. And the question now for a lot of people is, does this ramp up the pressure on Manafort enough to the point that he's going to decide that perhaps he doesn't want to fight these charges anymore and that he will try to come to some sort of deal to cooperate with the government?
MARTIN: Also, we should just point out that this particular charge, this is in addition to the charges that were brought against him by the special counsel, right?
LUCAS: That's right. So the special counsel originally charged Manafort back in October, brought money laundering and conspiracy charges. He was then hit with a superseding indictment in February that brought more charges - tax fraud, bank fraud. And then there was yet more charges - the obstruction of justice charges related to the witness tampering allegations. That was just in the past couple weeks. So yes, he faces a whole raft of charges. And then he also has a separate trial with other related charges in Virginia.
MARTIN: Do we know when we're going to see him in a courtroom again?
LUCAS: At this point in time, I do not. We just ran out. But he certainly has more hearings coming in the trial in Virginia shortly.
MARTIN: NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas for us this morning. Thanks so much, Ryan. We appreciate it.
LUCAS: My pleasure. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.