Paul Manafort treated like a 'VIP' in prison, court documents show

13 July, 2018, 00:46 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Paul Manafort says he's being treated 'like a VIP' in jail

Manafort, who was President Donald Trump's campaign chairman for several months, last week asked for his July 25 trial in Alexandria federal court to be delayed until this fall, saying his incarceration in Virginia's Northern Neck has made it too hard to prepare.

Mueller's team argued in its filing that an attempt by Manafort to further delay his criminal trial in Virginia by two or three months should be denied by Judge Thomas Ellis.

The government said Mr. Manafort's conditions are not "more restrictive than other inmates" and in various ways, "less restrictive".

Manafort was sent to jail June 15 as a judge agreed there was no way to restrain the lobbyist from alleged witness tampering if he remained on the outside.

Manafort had argued that being held at the jail, about 100 miles from Washington, D.C., kept him from meeting easily with his legal team. He also wants the trial moved to Roanoke.

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Then, once Judge T.S. Ellis ruled that he should be moved to the Alexandria facility earlier this week, Manafort filed another response effectively rescinding his request, citing "concerns about his safety" and "challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement and the changing circumstances of detention two weeks before 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. In the meantime, he said Manafort would be moved from the Northern Neck to the jail in Alexandria, in suburban Washington, "to ensure that the defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense". "Manafort remarked in a taped prison call that he is able to visit with his lawyers every day". Manafort was heard on a monitored prison phone call saying he was being treated "like a VIP," the filing adds; calls not with his attorneys are subject to monitoring.

They said Mueller's team 'does not pause to consider the reasons a detained defendant might have to make his situation sound better when speaking with concerned friends and family'.

Attorneys for Manafort also took issue with prosecutors' revelation of the content of some of Manafort's personal phone calls and suggested that Manafort was sugar-coating his conditions of confinement to ease the concern of friends and family. His trial in Washington is scheduled to begin in September.

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