Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Judge orders Manafort be moved from jail giving him 'VIP' treatment

Judge orders Manafort be moved from jail giving him 'VIP' treatment

President Donald Trump's jailed former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has said in monitored phone calls that he is being treated like a "VIP" while behind bars, federal prosecutors said Wednesday as they argued against postponing his financial crimes trial.

"Among the unique privileges Manafort enjoys at the jail are a private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units, his own bathroom and shower facility, his own personal telephone, and his own workspace to prepare for trial", the special counsel wrote.

Far from restrictive, prosecutors said Manafort had been provided with a personal telephone in his cell, which he used for more than 300 calls with attorneys and others over the past three weeks. The DC trial is scheduled for September 17, and the Virginia trial is set for July 25.

Earlier this week, the judge had ordered Manafort be moved from the Northern Neck jail, more than 100 miles away from his lawyers, to the Alexandria Detention Center near the courthouse.

Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial.

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

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The government's description makes it sound somewhat more like a hotel room with some restrictions.

But visitor logs and recordings of phone calls show that isn't the case, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday opposing Manafort's request for a delay. They have also alleged Mr. Manafort is kept in solitary confinement up to 23 hours a day. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the filing stated.

In yet another twist, despite initially arguing that being held at the rural jail hurt his case, Manafort opposed the judge's order, asking to stay at Northern Neck and citing "safety" concerns as the rationale for staying put.

They also recently provided Manafort with 8,290 documents from the computer of his former business partner, Richard Gates, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the prosecution.

The developments came as Manafort gets closer to two trials where he will defend himself against a number of charges ranging from bank fraud to failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.

Manafort, in his suppression request, argued that the warrant wasn't specific enough in describing the evidence it sought to seize, and that its scope was broader than the probable cause on which it was based.

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