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

Aaron Brown
July 14, 2018

While the calls are limited to 15 minutes, there is no limit on how many calls he can make.

The judge called the defense's objection to the jail move "surprising and confusing".

But Manafort's legal team didn't complain until the last minute, the US said. The judge in that case, Amy Berman Jackson, ordered Manafort to be jailed last month after he was accused of attempting to convince potential witnesses to lie on the stand. Judge T.S. Ellis, the federal judge overseeing Manafort's case in Alexandria, Va., ordered Tuesday that U.S. Marshals transfer Manafort to a detention facility in Alexandria - much closer to the Washington metro area, where the former Trump campaign chairman faces two trials.

Manafort, who is charged with financial fraud and witness tampering, had his own laptop and his own phone in the rural prison where he was housed for more than a month.

But the special counsel's team reported on Wednesday that Manafort told an unnamed person by phone that "I've gone through all the discovery now", only days before his lawyers filed a motion to continue the case.

But Judge Ellis denied a motion to head off the transfer. He also was not required to wear a prison uniform and was allowed to use his laptop in his cell, they said. "There is a strategy to it, even in failure, but there's a hope to it".

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While the charges against Manafort center on his private work for a Russia-backed Ukranian political party, they were brought by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election Prosecutors say he got one favorable loan only because the bank chairman wanted a job in the Trump administration.

Manafort's lawyers then objected, arguing that "after further reflection, issues of distance and inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety and, more importantly, the challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement" only two weeks before trial.

Manafort speaks to his attorneys every day and often multiple times a day, they said. In Alexandria, there are no private electronics for inmates, and Manafort was wearing a green jumpsuit when his mug shot was taken Thursday. The dissonance "cannot be easily explained or resolved".

A judge ordered the transfer after Manafort's lawyers complained it was hard for them and him to prepare for his trial because he was being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day in a Warsaw, Virginia, jail located a two-hour drive from his attorneys' Washington office.

As for listening in on Manafort's phone calls, Nanavati wrote: "Armed with personal conversations between Mr. Manafort and his family, the special counsel selects snippets to support its version of events".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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