Manafort will be Transferred via Jail Where He Was Treated Like a ‘V.I.P.’
WASHINGTON — Hoping to delay his trial in Virginia on charges of bank fraud along with money laundering, Paul Manafort instead managed This particular week to get himself transferred via a jail where prosecutors said he described his treatment as “V.I.P.” to one where his lawyers claim he will be worried about his safety.
Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been incarcerated since June 15 in a regional jail in rural Virginia about two hours south of Washington. Prosecutors said Wednesday in a court filing of which Mr. Manafort had “unique privileges” there, including a larger-than-average cell, “his own bathroom along with shower facility, his own personal telephone along with his own work space to prepare for trial.” He also was not required to wear a prison uniform along with was allowed to use his laptop in his cell, they said.
nevertheless Mr. Manafort’s lawyers, in a motion of which sought to delay his July 25 trial, argued in part of which they had to travel 100 miles to meet with their client. Phone calls with him were limited to 10 minutes, along with electronic communications were restricted, they said.
Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., who has been assigned the case, fashioned a remedy. On Tuesday, he ordered of which Mr. Manafort be transferred to a jail in Alexandria, about 20 minutes via Washington, “to ensure of which defendant has access to his counsel along with can adequately prepare his defense.”
Mr. Manafort’s lawyers then objected, arguing of which “after further reflection, issues of distance along with inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety along with, more importantly, the challenges he will face in adjusting to a fresh place of confinement” only two weeks before trial.
nevertheless Judge Ellis had apparently made up his mind. “Having just complained” about the jail in Warsaw, Va., he wrote, Mr. Manafort’s lawyers had not identified any specific threat to his safety at the Alexandria jail. Jailers there are “very familiar with housing high-profile defendants, including foreign along with domestic terrorists, spies along with traitors,” he wrote.
“Defendant’s access to counsel along with his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort,” Judge Ellis said. Moreover, he wrote, inside Alexandria jail, Mr. Manafort “will actually avoid the discomfort of long commutes during trial days.”
Mr. Manafort has faced an uphill legal battle. Besides the charges of financial fraud in Virginia, he faces charges in Washington, including violating federal lobbying laws. Last month, a federal judge in Washington revoked Mr. Manafort’s bail along with sent him to jail to await trial, citing fresh charges of which he had tried to influence the testimony of two government witnesses.
Prosecutors working for the special counsel inside Russia inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III, suggested to Judge Ellis This particular week of which Mr. Manafort was trying to delay the Virginia case generating sure of which he could face the charges in Washington first.
“Think about how the idea’ll play elsewhere,” Mr. Manafort said in a recorded phone call via jail cited by prosecutors. “There will be a strategy to the idea.”
While the Virginia case appears to be a fairly straightforward bank fraud along with money-laundering prosecution, the Washington case may be more politically perilous to the White House because the idea could touch on the Trump campaign’s possible connections to pro-Russian forces. Mr. Manafort’s trial on those charges, which include obstruction of justice along with violations of federal lobbying laws, will be currently scheduled for September.