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U.S. Judge Imposes Gag Order In Case Against Former Trump Aide Manafort

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

A U.S. judge has imposed a gag order in the criminal case of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, barring anyone involved in the case from making public statements that might taint it.

Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates are charged with conspiring to defraud the United States in more than a decade of dealings with political forces in Ukraine.

The charges came out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Manafort and Gates have both pleaded not guilty.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she wanted to make sure the trial is fair and that potential jurors are not influenced by pretrial publicity.

Jackson directed prosecutors and defense lawyers to refrain from making statements to the news media "or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case."

Jackson had previously warned lawyers against discussing the case publicly after Manafort defense lawyer Kevin Downing in a news conference called the charges against him "ridiculous."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters