Paul Manafort treated as prison 'VIP', to be moved

Cheryl Sanders
July 12, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is resisting being moved from a jail where he is reportedly being treated like a "VIP" to a facility in Alexandria, Virginia ahead of his upcoming trial.

Though Manafort's lawyers have said he spends almost all of his days in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his living arrangements as a "private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units" with its own bathroom and shower. They also say he has his own workspace and has had more than 100 phone calls with lawyers in the last three weeks.

Manafort, who faces charges including bank fraud and failing to register as an agent for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, has a trial set for July 25 in Virginia and another trial in September in Washington.

Prosecutors also said Mr. Manafort has access to his own separate workroom to meet with lawyers at the Northern Neck Jail in Warsaw, Virginia.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on Tuesday ordered Manafort's transfer to the Alexandria Detention Center from the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, which is 85 miles away.

Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the filing stated.

"Manafort has revealed on the monitored phone calls that in order to exchange emails, he reads and composes emails on a second laptop that is shuttled in and out of the facility by his team", Mueller's team said. "The dissonance between defendant's motion to continue and motion opposing transfer to the Alexandria Detention Center can not easily be explained or resolved".

Last week, Manafort's lawyers complained that he has to spend 23 hours in solitary confinement in the unit.

Between the two cases, Manafort's lawyers say the government has produced about 2 million pages of documents, tens of thousands of which came in the past few months. It was the basis for Manafort's request for the trial to be delayed.

"On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a 'VIP, '" prosecutors quoted him as having said. Prosecutors with the special counsel asked the judge to jail Manafort after learning that he had attempted to contact potential government witnesses in the days after Mueller brought a superseding indictment against him. Manafort denies all the charges.

The judge hasn't ruled on that request.

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

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