Last week, Paul Manafort’s trial judge threatened to issue a gag order after his lawyer called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against his client “ridiculous” in a blistering minute-long sidewalk speech.
Now, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has followed through.
“In order to safeguard defendants’ rights to a fair trial, and to ensure that the court has the ability to seat a jury that has not been tainted by pretrial publicity,” Jackson said in a written order issued Wednesday that she was barring all parties from making statement to the media or in public “that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice in this case.”
Manafort and long-time deputy Rick Gates were indicted Oct. 27 for money laundering and failing to properly disclose to the U.S. work they did on behalf of a pro-Russian government in Ukraine. Each man has pleaded not guilty. Both are currently confined to their homes on personal recognizance bonds with electronic monitoring, though the parties are negotiating revised release terms with Mueller’s prosecutors.
Manafort, with Gates as an aide, served as President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman for four months in 2016. They were among the first people to be charged in Mueller’s probe of Russian influence on last year’s presidential election.