Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Manafort treated as prison ‘VIP’ with his own bathroom, shower, and phone

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016
Deanna Wagner | 12 July, 2018, 00:44

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. He had asked for a postponement until after a separate trial in Washington, D.C., where he faces similar charges.

The filing from prosecutors counters Manafort's request to delay his Virginia trial by months.

In an effort to further delay his upcoming federal trial in Virginia, Paul Manafort argued that his living conditions in jail prevent him from adequately preparing with his legal team. Mueller's office is calling shenanigans.

The filing also asserts that Manafort has a personal telephone, laptop with extension court for private use in his own unit and access to all necessary documents.

In one of the phone calls, Manafort told the caller that he is treated like a "VIP" in prison, has a self-contained unit with a private bathroom and shower, and is not required to wear a prison uniform, according to the filing.

"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.

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As more details have been revealed about the cushy set-up Paul Manafort has in his current jail, a federal judge doubled down on his order that Manafort be moved to a new detention center - an order Manafort unsuccessfully asked the judge to reverse even though he had complained about the location of the rural Virginia jail now holding him.

This isn't the first time Manafort has received special privileges while under law enforcement supervision.

And in December 2017, Judge Amy Berman Jackson allowed him to temporarily leave house arrest to spend Christmas with his extended family in the Hamptons.

Judge T.S. Ellis wrote in a filing published Wednesday that Manafort's "access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort".

Updated at 2:05 p.m. Phone logs show that he has made more than 300 calls, including more than 100 to his lawyers. While Manafort's lawyers days ago said that he was in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day because the jail couldn't guarantee his safety, the government's portrayal suggested his circumstances are much less grim, a fact that Manafort himself tacitly admitted, when he said in a monitored conversation that he was being treated like a "VIP".