U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, a Black woman based in Washington, D.C. and the presiding judge over Paul Manafort’s 12-count indictment, placed President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman on house arrest with a $10 million bail for money laundering and other financial crimes.
Manafort, and his former business associate Rick Gates, have been brought up on charges through Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia Probe. On Oct. 30, Robinson set the terms of Manafort and Gates’ release. Both men pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy. Bail for Gates was set at $5 million.
A court artist drawing shows President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, center standing and Manafort’s business associate, Rick Gates, in federal court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. Seated at front left is Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing. Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty following their arrest on charges related to conspiracy against the United States and other felonies. The charges are the first from the special counsel investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)
Robinson has been a presiding judge in D.C. since 1988. Prior to that she was the Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, where she prosecuted criminal actions in both the Superior Court and the United States District Court, argued appeals in both the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the District of Columbia Circuit, and served in the Civil Division. This is her forth term as a D.C. Magistrate Judge. The term is expected to end in July of 2020. She is one of two Black women who are currently sworn in as magistrate judges for the district. The other is Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather.
U.S. Magistrate judges are appointed by U.S. District Court judges, and assist District Court judge in various aspects of U.S. District court matters. They cannot try or sentence persons in felony cases., but can handle misdemeanor and other minor cases including civil cases.
According to news reports, Robinson is no stranger to high profile cases, presiding over cases involving Sandy Berger, President Bill Clinton’s former national security advisor; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former White House aide in the George W. Bush administration who was convicted of interfering with a CIA investigation and the preliminary hearing for Rayful Edmond III, a drug dealer in D.C. and a probation hearing for former D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry.
Robinson is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore and Emory University Law School in Atlanta.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson will preside over the rest of the Manafort and Gates’ cases.