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

Erika Holt
July 12, 2018

A Wednesday court filing from Mueller's team describes Manafort's living conditions at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, in detail, revealing what it calls the former Trump campaign manager's "unique privileges" behind bars to make the case that being in the rural facility hasn't hurt his ability to prepare.

Also on Wednesday, Mueller's office filed a motion in the Washington case notifying the court of its intent to present evidence at trial about a Justice Department inspection into Manafort's lobbying activities in the 1980's.

"And, I have to say, I never - a private laptop, your own personal bathroom and shower, unlimited calls, not having to wear a uniform?" he said naming off all of the perks Manafort enjoys in his VIP cell in northern Virginia.

Prosecutors also cited taped phone calls from prison in which Manafort remarked that he was being treated like a "VIP" and had access to "all my files like I would at home". One trial is set for July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, and the second case in Washington, D.C., has a September 17 trial date.

On Tuesday, District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is overseeing Mr. Manafort's Virginia trial moved him to an Alexandria jail so he can have easier access to his legal team. They added that Manafort did not raise questions about his access to his attorneys or documents to prepare his defense. He also has use of a separate workspace.

The prosecutors' filing says Manafort has everything he needs to prepare for the trial, including his own phone and computer.

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Prosecutors said that at the time Manafort was jailed June 15 and at multiple times since, they have offered to help if there were any issues with the jail location or conditions.

Manafort has even "developed a workaround" to send emails, which prisoners normally would not be allowed to do, according to prosecutors: "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".

The context for Manafort's comment wasn't clear but he is facing charges related to his work on behalf of clients overseas, including the onetime government of Ukraine and a powerful Russian oligarch. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the filing stated.

But Mueller's office appeared to throw cold water on several of Manafort's arguments in Wednesday's filing opposing Manafort's request.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. He instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to move Manafort to Alexandria, as he initially planned.

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