1 of 2 | Rick Gates arrives for a status conference at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Washington, D.C., loosened some of the home confinement restrictions for former Trump campaign chairman Rick Manafort and his associate Rick Gates on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Gates may leave his Richmond, Va., home this weekend to attend his children's sporting events, and both men may leave their residences for legal, court and medical appointments, and religious observances.
Both Manafort and Gates were released on house arrest Monday after posting $10 million and $5 million bond respectively. Both men are wearing GPS tracking devices.
Gates said he needed to be able to travel for work purposes, but since neither the defense or prosecution filed any motions, Jackson wasn't clear whether the men were seeking to be released from home confinement or GPS tracking.
Jackson said she will consider releasing them from house arrest, but has concerns about "flight."
"I'm not sure they need to be under house arrest, lock and key, day in, day out, but I think if they leave and don't come back, we need to know where they went," Jackson said.
"The charges are significant and their ties and their assets abroad are significant."
Unsealed court documents Wednesday revealed prosecutors believed the men have enough assets and foreign connections to allow them to "live comfortably" outside of the United States, making them flight risks.
Jackson said she also is considering imposing a gag order to halt the parties from making public statements about the case.
"This is a criminal trial, and it is not a public-relations campaign," Jackson said.
Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, made remarks after Monday's hearing just outside the courthouse distancing the charges from allegations the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russia in order to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Kevin Downing, Paul Manafort's lawyer, speaks to the media after leaving the U.S. District Court where Manafort pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI
Manfort and Gates both pleaded not guilty Monday to charges including conspiracy, money laundering, tax fraud, failure to file reports of foreign financial assets, serving as an unregistered foreign agent and giving false and misleading statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The charges are linked to an investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's alleged meddling in the election.
Manafort resigned as Donald Trump's campaign chairman in August 2016 after a Ukrainian government corruption probe found Manafort received nearly $13 million from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. In June 2017, when Manafort registered as a foreign agent, he reported an income of $17 million from the Ukraine's Party of Regions.
Within the first month of Trump's presidency, U.S. intelligence agencies said they were investigating intercepted phone calls between Manafort and Russian intelligence agents. Manafort said he didn't realize they were intelligence agents.
Manafort also was one of eight people in attendance at a June 2016 meeting between the president's son Donald Trump Jr. and Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The meeting was arranged after Trump Jr. learned that she had damaging information from the Russian government regarding Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.
Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in July, but the committee dropped its subpoena after he spoke with members of the Senate intelligence committee and provided documents on July 25.
The Mueller investigation also resulted in a guilty plea from former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. He admitted to lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russians linked to the Kremlin.