Manafort Is Transferred From Jail Where He Was Treated Like a ‘VIP’

Hannah Rogers
July 14, 2018

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said Tuesday that Manafort would be relocated to a jail in Alexandria, Virginia, where he is scheduled for trial later this month.

Manafort has not been seen since a DC federal judge revoked his bail and sent him to the regional jail in Warsaw, Virginia, about two hours from DC, for alleged witness tampering. But on Tuesday, Manafort resisted being moved to Alexandria, arguing that while the city jail would be more convenient, he did not want to adjust to new circumstances so close to trial.

Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, had asked for his July 25 trial on bank and tax-fraud charges to be delayed in large part because it was hard to prepare while incarcerated 100 miles away at a regional jail in Warsaw, Va.

Prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday that Manafort has told people he is being treated like a "VIP" in the Northern Neck lockup, where he has his own phone and computer, writes emails and does not have to wear a uniform.

Ellis delivered another piece of bad news for Manafort in a second court order Wednesday. In Wednesday's filing, they contend that Manafort's living conditions are not only no harsher than those of his fellow inmates but that they are actually substantially more lenient.

The court document claims Manafort has "unique privileges" at the Warsaw jail.

The filing also claims Manafort is not confined to his cell and has access to a separate workspace in the jail between 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Manafort filed a motion last week asking for his trial to be delayed until this fall, saying it was impossible to fully prepare because of distance and limited electronic and phone access.

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For nearly a month, he has lived in a VIP unit at a rural Virginia regional jail two hours from Washington, where he's retained some conveniences of the outside world.

In a rebuttal, Manafort's lawyers said the effort put into monitoring their client's phone calls showed that Mueller had "unlimited resources" and accused his office of choosing conversations "to support its version of events". Instead, a judge chose to move Manafort into more a more traditional jail situation, though he will be kept separate from other inmates for his own safety.

"If five lawyers take up five rooms, then you wait in line for someone to finish", defense attorney Marina Medvin said.If they take up the entire time slot, then you're out of luck - you need to leave and come back and hopefully be first in line". But the judges overseeing both cases against Manafort recently struck down those arguments.

Prosecutors also said Manafort knew his refusal to let the Virginia bank and tax-fraud charges be combined with the D.C. case would likely lead to this schedule.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

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

"The five previously charged counts against Manfort remain unchanged: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] statements, and false statements", the special counsel's spokesman said last month.

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