Prosecutors said Manafort used a method called "foldering" to covertly talk to people. It's not that complicated: He made an email account and shared the password. He wrote messages but saved them as drafts, never sending actual emails. Other guys open the draft, read it, delete.
Manafort is accused of witness tampering.
“I cannot turn a blind eye to this,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, according to NBC News.
According to multiple reporters in the courtroom, Manafort — who has been under house arrest in Virginia since October — was taken into custody immediately after the judge’s ruling. He will remain in custody until his trial, which is expected to begin in early September.
Special counsel Robert Mueller secured an indictment earlier this month saying Manafort attempted to reach witnesses with an encrypted messaging program while he was awaiting trial in an attempt to “suborn perjury,” according to one of those witnesses.
Prosecutor Greg Andres said Friday that Manafort also used a tactic called “foldering” to secretly communicate with people:
Manafort pleaded not guilty to those charges, and his attorneys argued that the judge could take other steps aside from jailing their client to cease any improper contact, such as issuing an order specifically barring Manafort from contacting potential witnesses.
Jackson, however, disagreed.
“This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone,” she said.
She also dismissed accusations that the special counsel’s indictment for witness tampering was politically motivated.
“This is not about politics,” Jackson said, according to Politico. “It is not about the conduct of the Office of Special Counsel. It is about the defendant’s alleged conduct.”
Manafort was charged last October with conspiracy and money laundering as part of Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign actively colluded with Russian officials to sway the outcome of the 2016 campaign. He has also denied those allegations.
Trump tweeted a response to Manafort’s jailing, defending his former campaign manager.