Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, center, departs federal courthouse in Washington in 2017 with his attorney Kevin M. Downing, left. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

A U.S. judge who looked into whether former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s defense attorney violated a gag order in his case by speaking with Fox News host Sean Hannity dropped her inquiry once the attorney said the pair spoke only once, a newly unsealed hearing transcript shows.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday unsealed hundreds of text messages between Hannity and Manafort while Manafort’s investigation and prosecution were pending.

Prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III submitted the messages originally under seal for the judge to weigh ahead of Manafort’s sentencing, contending they showed Manafort’s lack of cooperation with the court.

Jackson released the texts from August 2017 to June 2018 with limited redactions after hearing from both sides over the past three months.

Jackson on Monday released a lightly redacted transcript of a closed-door April 2 hearing she called in which the judge asked Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin M. Downing, about one of the text exchanges and why she should not find him in violation of her order not to discuss the case with news media to prevent biasing potential jurors.

Manafort had exchanged hundreds of messages with Hannity, Fox News’s biggest star and an unwavering ally of the president and those in his circle on his prime-time TV program and his widely syndicated radio program.

Manafort frequently pointed Hannity toward material he felt would be favorable to his case, told Hannity he was using material uncovered by the Fox News host, and at one point connected Downing with Hannity for a phone call on Jan. 25, 2018.

Hannity responded enthusiastically after the call, “I asked him to feed me every day.”

At the April hearing, Downing said he spoke with Hannity that one time, for “a seven-minute phone call at 11:30 on that date in question, and I had no other contact with Mr. Hannity.”

Downing said he “did not feed information to Mr. Hannity.”

He said his client “wanted me to introduce myself to Mr. Hannity, and I did. And we basically had a discussion about our background and growing up on Long Island, and that was it.”

Prosecutors said they did not pursue the matter, had no information beyond the messages, and did not interview further Hannity or Manafort on the exchange.

Prosecutors initially submitted the messages under seal, citing the privacy of uncharged individuals, and Downing had asked to keep them under wraps because it involved “a client matter, it’s pretty sensitive.”

Jackson thanked Downing, saying in April, “It was not my intention and it never has been to personally embarrass you in any way, Mr. Downing, which is one of the reasons why I made this sealed. I wanted to hear what you had to say before I took any action. But, obviously, I’m sure you can imagine why I was dismayed when I read the information.”

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report