Paul Manafort says he's being treated like a "VIP" in jail

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is being held on witness tampering charges as he awaits trial on fraud, money laundering and other charges related to the Russian Federation probe.

Mueller's special counsel team has hit Manafort with three superseding indictments in two federal courts - Washington, D.C., and Virginia - amounting to more than 40 charges related to money laundering, tax and bank fraud, conspiracy, and other financial crimes that largely predate his time on the Trump campaign.

Judge T.S. Ellis, who is presiding over Manafort's trial in Virginia beginning in two weeks, had ordered that Manafort should be moved closer to the city "to ensure that defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense". Phone logs show that he has made more than 300 calls, including more than 100 to his lawyers.

He's even got his own "private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units", the filing says. He has his own bathroom and shower, a private telephone and laptop, and is not required to wear a prison uniform, the prosecutors said. Mueller's office pointed out that the supposed reasons for the delay-including the aforementioned lack of prep time and wanting "passions to cool" so jurors could be impartial-would seem to apply to both cases, yet Manafort has not asked to delay the D.C. case, which is also focuses on his Ukraine work.

Manafort asked for the delay on the grounds he has been unable to prepare for his trial properly since being jailed.

Between the hours of 8:30am to 10:00pm, Manafort has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys and legal team.

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The special counsel's lawyers reported that the jail in Warsaw doesn't allow prisoners to send emails but that Manafort "appears to have developed a workaround" by reading and drafting messages on a second laptop that's brought in and out of the jail by his legal team. He has not reached out, they said in court filings. He has pleaded not guilty.

"Review of that material can be accomplished well in advance of the July 25 trial date and does not warrant a months-long adjournment", the government filings said.

"Manafort can hardly now complain about the order of the trials", the special counsel attorneys said.

Manafort has also argued that his trial should be moved from Alexandria to Roanoke, where jurors are more likely to support the president, his attorneys told the court.

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

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