Ex-Trump adviser reminded of gag order

Ex-Trump adviser reminded of gag order

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A US federal judge has issued a stern warning to US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort to refrain from making statements to the media that could harm his right to a fair trial.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Monday chided Manafort for ghost-writing an opinion piece that was published last week in the Kyiv Post, a Ukraine English language newspaper, lauding Manafort's political work for Ukraine.

Jackson said she should would consider any similar future behaviour to be a violation of her November 8 gag order not to discuss the case with the media or make public statements in ways that could affect its outcome.
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She also stopped short of granting a request from Special Counsel Robert Mueller to deny Manafort's proposal for more lenient bail terms, saying she would take his proposal to lift his house arrest in exchange for posting four real estate properties as collateral under advisement and rule at a later date.

Prosecutors had previously asked her to deny his request, saying his behind-the-scenes ghost-writing violated her order and raised issues of trust.

She added that the op-ed, while not published in a US newspaper, could potentially taint a local jury pool because of the global nature of media.
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Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates are facing charges including conspiracy to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent working on behalf of former pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych's government.

Jackson set the next status conference hearing for January 16.

She also expressed frustration that the defendants were not always giving pre-trial services ample notice about their whereabouts, saying "it has to be more than an hour in advance".
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She added that Gates has repeatedly filed requests to get out of house arrest on the weekends to go to his children's' sporting events, and she urged his lawyers to reach a bail agreement with the government so the court could "get out of the business of monitoring soccer practice".
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