WASHINGTON - The federal judge overseeing the upcoming criminal trial of two top former Trump aides has imposed a gag order in the case.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson Wednesday ordered defendants Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, their lawyers, and all possible witnesses to “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that could pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice.”
In all criminal cases, it is always possible that making statements for or against the defendants in the media could make it very hard to find an impartial jury — one whose members have not already made up their minds.
Former Trump campaign chairman Manafort and his associate Gates have been charged with 12 criminal counts over Manafort’s financial dealings with Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.
The charges include money laundering, failing to register as agents of a foreign government, and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
Manafort and Gates have both pleaded not guilty and are under house arrest.
The charges stem out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steer the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
The White House has strongly denied the allegations and the Kremlin said it did not interfere in the election.