Judge issues gag order in Manafort case

NEW YORK, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The judge presiding over the criminal case against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager issued a gag order on Wednesday barring anyone involved in the case from making public statements that might taint it.

Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were arraigned in federal court in Washington last week on a 12-count indictment that accused them of conspiring to launder money, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts and failing to register as foreign agents of Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in her written order she wanted to make sure the trial was fair and that potential jurors were not influenced by pre-trial publicity.

RELATED: Paul Manafort through the years

13 PHOTOS
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
See Gallery
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort speaks at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) and daughter Ivanka (R) look on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort appears at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort talks to the media from the Trump family box on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's senior campaign adviser Paul Manafort (L) walks into a reception with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort listens to Ivanka Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A man with a security credential takes a selfie at the podium as Donald Trump, flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 19: Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Manafort., Convention Manager, Trump Campaign, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 10, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NA.R.DoleMicCk1.081596.RG.Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks up from podium at balloons and television cameras as convention center manager Paul Manafort, at right, points out preparations for tonight's acceptance speech in San Diego, 08/15/96. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, young Republicans political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

She directed the defendants, all lawyers and any potential witnesses to "refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice" to the case.

Jackson had previously warned lawyers about discussing the case publicly after Manafort defense lawyer Kevin Downing made a defiant statement outside the courthouse following his client's arraignment on Monday.

"This is a criminal trial and not a public relations campaign," Jackson said in court last week.

Downing, appearing before television cameras on Monday, said the charges against Manafort were "ridiculous" and said the president was correct to insist there was "no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government."

The charges against Manafort and Gates stem from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Manafort and Gates have both pleaded not guilty.

The Kremlin has denied meddling in the election and Trump has denied any collusion took place.

Downing did not respond to a request for comment. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

Jackson had asked the parties last week if they had any objections to a gag order. None responded.

Downing's statements outside the courthouse had raised eyebrows among defense lawyers.

"Judge Jackson is a no-nonsense judge and he's clearly angered her to no purpose," said Eric Lewis, a longtime Washington trial lawyer.

RELATED: Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle

29 PHOTOS
Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle
See Gallery
Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle
Michael Flynn: Former National Security Advisor, no longer with the Trump administration
Ivanka Trump: First daughter and presidential adviser
Gen. John Kelly: Former Secretary of Homeland Security, current White House chief of staff
Steve Bannon: Former White House chief strategist, no longer with the Trump administration
Jared Kushner: Son-in-law and senior adviser
Kellyanne Conway: Former Trump campaign manager, current counselor to the president
Reince Priebus: Former White House chief of staff, no longer with the Trump administration
Anthony Scaramucci: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: White House press secretary
Donald Trump Jr.: First son to President Trump
Sean Spicer: Former White House press secretary, soon to be no longer with the Trump administration
Jeff Sessions: U.S. attorney general
Steve Mnuchin: Secretary of Treasury
Paul Manafort: Former Trump campaign chairman
Carter Page: Former foreign policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign
Omarosa Manigault: Director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison
Melania Trump: Wife to President Trump and first lady of the United States
Jason Miller: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Hope Hicks: White House Director of Strategic Communications
Mike Dubke: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Stephen Miller: Trump senior policy adviser
Corey Lewandowski: Former Trump campaign manager
Eric Trump: Son to President Trump
Rex Tillerson: Secretary of State
Sebastian Gorka: Former deputy assistant to the president in the Trump administration, no longer in his White House role
Roger Stone: Former Trump campaign adviser, current host of Stone Cold Truth
Betsy DeVos: U.S. Education Secretary
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, walks toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. President Donald Trump's encounter this week at the Group of 20 summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin is raising concerns among veteran American diplomats and analysts about a mismatch between a U.S. president new to global affairs and a wily former Soviet spymaster. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

But Los Angeles defense lawyer Mark Geragos said he thought Downing might indeed have had a purpose in mind: currying favor with Trump in the hopes of eventually securing Manafort a presidential pardon.

"The cynic in me would say that was exactly what was happening," said Geragos, "that there was an audience of one." (Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Anthony Lin and Leslie Adler)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.