Judge 'no choice' but to lock up Manafort

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A federal judge revoked Paul Manafort's bail on Friday, sending the former Trump campaign chair to jail ahead of his two trials on fraud charges.

"Paul Manafort, 69 years old, today is the first day of the rest of his life", he said. "The government takes the position that there are no conditions that rebut the finding that Manafort is a danger to the community", Andres argued.

Legal experts have said Mueller wants to keep applying pressure on Manafort to plead guilty and assist prosecutors with the probe.

Manafort, a long-time Republican operative and businessman, is a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election, and has been indicted on mostly financial-related charges, including conspiring to launder money and defraud the United States.

Mueller is prosecuting Manafort in two venues, in the District of Columbia on charges of lobbying for foreign governments without complying with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and in Virginia on charges of tax and bank fraud for his lobbying work dating back a decade. Gates, 46, pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators and agreed to provide information in a cooperation deal with Mueller's team.

Manafort will remain in jail while he awaits trial in both Washington and Virginia over the next few months.

When the ruling was handed down, Manafort reportedly nodded to his attorney, was taken into custody and gave a wave to his wife as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Mr Manafort, who resigned as chairman of the Trump campaign in August 2016, has been under house arrest since he was charged last October.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he believed his former campaign manager Paul Manafort received a tough sentence and wondered why the same hasn't happened for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

Manafort's attorneys said the charges were based on the "thinnest of evidence".

"This is not middle school", Jackson said at one point.

"You've abused the trust placed in you", she said. Charges include claims that Manafort laundered millions, hiding behind shell companies and using the money to buy luxury items.

"Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time", Trump said.

Mr Manafort's lawyers have accused prosecutors of conjuring a "sinister plot" out of "innocuous" contacts.

A Manafort associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, also was charged with obstruction in connection with the alleged approaches to witnesses.

She revoked Mr Manafort's bail, saying she had no choice but to lock him up because she couldn't stop him from having contact with people.

"I feel bad about a lot of it because I think a lot of it is very unfair", he said.

Manafort appeared at the Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Downtown Washington Friday, where a judge told him he tampered with witnesses.