Friday, 21 September, 2018

Manafort Comapres Jail to VIP Treatment, Prosecutors Say

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016
Ray Hunter | 14 July, 2018, 04:05

The judge responded by ordering the U.S. Marshal Service to move Manafort from a jail in Warsaw, Virginia, to one in Alexandria.

To assist in that review, Ellis ordered Manafort moved Tuesday from a jail cell in Warsaw, Va., where he has been held since his bail was revoked last month, to the Alexandria Detention Center to be closer to his attorneys. Manafort cited concerns about his safety and "adjusting to a new place of confinement" in trying to block the move, but U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III didn't buy it.

Prosecutors say Manafort has a personal telephone that he uses to prepare for trial with lawyers. "Manafort is also not required to wear a prison uniform".

Ellis delivered another piece of bad news for Manafort in a second court order Wednesday.

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.

As for listening in on Manafort's phone calls, Nanavati wrote: "Armed with personal conversations between Mr. Manafort and his family, the special counsel selects snippets to support its version of events".

Prosecutors said that at the time Manafort was jailed June 15 and at multiple times since, they have offered to help if there are any issues with the jail location or conditions.

Manafort was ordered to jail by a federal judge in the District of Columbia, where he faces related charges. And he has had extensive access to his counsel and materials: On July 4, 2018, Manafort remarked in a taped prison call that he is able to visit with his lawyers every day, and that he has "all my files like I would at home".

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"Defendant's access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort", Ellis said.

In a Washington, D.C., court filing in which he described his jailing, Manafort had said he is kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. His trial in Alexandria is set for July 25. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted".

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 also asked to have his Virginia trial delayed on the grounds that he needed more time to review the many documents in the case, which centers on his work for a Russia-aligned political party in Ukraine. But the judges overseeing both cases against Manafort recently struck down those arguments.

Manafort, who is charged with financial fraud and witness tampering, had his own laptop and his own phone in the rural prison where he was housed for more than a month.

Manafort has mounted an aggressive defense against the special counsel, arguing that Mueller's mandate was too broad and that he was not authorized to charge Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian collusion.

Hull said that when jail officials learned Manafort was communicating by email, his attorneys were told to stop the practice.

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