Judge mulls gag order in Manafort, Gates case

Paul Manafort is pictured. | Getty Images

Paul Manafort’s lawyer on Monday had referred to as the indictment “ridiculous” throughout a press release to reporters exterior the courthouse. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Parties focus on April 2018 trial on indictment over international lobbying and cash laundering.




The decide badigned to the prison case involving former Trump marketing campaign officers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates indicated Thursday she was already cautious of the extraordinary media protection of the case and stated she was contemplating issuing a gag order limiting public statements by legal professionals concerned.

“This is a criminal trial, and it’s not a public relations campaign,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson stated as she performed her first listening to within the case filed by particular counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to badyze Russian meddling within the 2016 presidential election.

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“I expect counsel to do their talking in this courtroom and in their pleadings and not on the courthouse steps,” the decide stated on the outset of the 25-minute session. Manafort’s lawyer on Monday had referred to as the indictment “ridiculous” throughout a press release to reporters exterior the courthouse.

Jackson cited a court docket rule permitting gag orders in “widely publicized or sensational criminal cases” and gave the prosecution and protection till Tuesday to weigh in on whether or not she ought to situation one. “In the meantime, I expect you to abide by the [court’s] admonition,” added the decide, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

Manafort, the previous marketing campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, and Gates have been each in court docket for the listening to and sat quietly on the protection desk. While no members of the family gave the impression to be current when the pair was arraigned Monday, Manafort’s spouse, Kathleen, sat within the entrance row of the packed, second-floor courtroom throughout Thursday’s session.

Unlike Monday, when the boys have been escorted into the again of the courtroom by U.S. marshals, the pair walked in with their legal professionals via the general public gallery Thursday.

Most of Thursday’s listening to was dedicated to dialogue about bail-related points, however Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing indicated that the events proposed a trial be set for April. The decide stated she was open to that however didn’t formally set a trial date.

“There’s no reason we should not be able to do this case on the schedule you’ve been talking about,” she stated.

Jackson’s no-nonsense model was on show all through Thursday’s session, as she scolded the protection and prosecution for not presenting clear requests about what pretrial circumstances ought to be imposed on Manafort and Gates. On Monday, a Justice of the Peace decide ordered each males launched into house confinement. Manafort agreed to forfeit $10 million if he would not present up for court docket and Gates agreed to surrender $5 million.

However, neither really posted any property or cash to safe launch. Prosecutors stated they need that to occur however haven’t formally moved to require a particular bail bundle.

Downing stated Thursday he needed his consumer launched from house confinement.

“The confinement was intended to be temporary until we could get in front of this court,” the protection lawyer stated.

At one level, Jackson complained that in Thursday’s listening to, Downing wasn’t clear about whether or not Manafort was making an attempt to be free of GPS monitoring or just from house confinement.

“I’m still just not exactly sure what you are asking for,” the decide stated. “Your position has changed two times since you stood up.”

Downing stated he was sorry that the written submission he filed Thursday wasn’t framed as a movement, despite the fact that the decide had ordered both sides to make a proper, written request to vary the bail circumstances.

“I apologize about the form of the application,” he stated.

Jackson additionally stated she wasn’t clear what the federal government was proposing, if something. “I didn’t understand what your position was either,” she stated.

The decide stated she was reluctant to loosen up the GPS requirement however was open to releasing the defendants from house confinement.

“I’m not sure they need to be under house arrest, lock and key, day in, day out, but I think if they leave and don’t come back, we need to know where they went,” Jackson stated.

Jackson stated she realized the truth that Manafort and Gates are below investigation “had not been a mystery” to them, however that the precise submitting of expenses modified the dynamic.

“The charges are significant and their ties and their badets abroad are significant,” the decide stated. “I have concerns about flight.”

Gates appeared for the primary time with one among his newly employed legal professionals, Shan Wu. Wu proposed lifting the house confinement for his consumer, however the lawyer filed his movement simply 19 minutes earlier than the listening to was scheduled to start.

Wu gained a small concession from the decide Friday: She agreed to permit Gates to depart his Richmond house this weekend to attend sporting occasions his kids are taking part in. The defendants are additionally permitted to depart their residences for authorized conferences, court docket appearances, medical appointments and spiritual observances.

Jackson set one other listening to for Monday morning on the bond points, which means Manafort and Gates will once more need to courageous a phalanx of cameras and reporters to make their method out and in of the courthouse.

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