Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

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

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

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former presidential campaign chairman, was recorded saying he is being treated "like a VIP" in jail despite complaining publicly about the conditions, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The 69-year-old political operative, who is detained while awaiting trial on charges of financial crimes, made the comments in monitored prison telephone calls, according to a court filing by the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

Ellis insisted this week that the transfer proceed even after Manafort's lawyers, citing concerns about his safety and adjusting to a new jail so close to his trial date, asked that he stay put.

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Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager, 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.

The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington), and 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

Telephone logs show that in the last three week Manafort has had over 100 calls with his lawyers and another 200 with other people. He also has a personal laptop, they say, with an extension cord so he can use it in his unit and not just the workroom. To make their case, they cited recorded jail calls and prison logs suggesting Manafort is getting treated better than most detainees, not worse. 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.

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Regarding how he's prepared for trial, prosecutors heard him say on a taped call that he's reviewed all evidence before his trial, met with his lawyers every day and has "all my files like I would at home", the filing says. "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. They have also alleged Mr. Manafort is kept in solitary confinement up to 23 hours a day. The unit includes a work space and a private shower.

Ellis has not ruled on the Virginia continuance or the change of venue.

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