Manafort gets VIP treatment in US jail

Adjust Comment Print

Manafort was transfered to Alexandria Detention Center yesterday as he awaits criminal trial over the charges surrounding his alleged bank fraud and suspicious global dealings.

Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, had asked for his July 25 trial on bank and tax-fraud charges to be delayed in large part because it was hard to prepare while incarcerated 100 miles away at a regional jail in Warsaw, Va.

Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne told Politico that Manafort will be placed in protective custody, which limits his interactions with other inmates.

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".

Manafort's lawyers first sought to use the distance from the Northern Neck facility as a reason to delay his July 25 trial.

Manafort has been held there since June 15, when a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered him detained, partly because of new charges that he had attempted to tamper with witnesses. "We will work closely with the U.S. Marshals to ensure his proper care while he remains in our custody", Lawhorne said.

In a filing to a Virginia federal judge overseeing one of two trials scheduled for Manafort, prosecutors said Manafort's assertions in court papers about conditions in jail, including limited access to evidence and his attorneys, were untrue.

More news: Cardi B welcomes her first baby with fiancé offset
More news: US threatens to impose fresh tariffs on China
More news: Mexico elections center on disgust with corruption, violence

The prosecutors' descriptions of his jail conditions imply that Manafort has had a far easier living situation than other inmates. Here the judge will also consider a request to have the trial moved to another city - Manafort argues he can not get a fair trial in Alexandria due to the publicity of his case. "All of those defendants were housed safely in Alexandria pending their respective trials and defendant's experience at the Alexandria Detention Center will presumably be no different".

The jail houses about 400 inmates, and at least 150 beds are reserved for federal prisoners like Manafort.

"Having just complained" about the jail in Warsaw, Virginia, he wrote, Manafort's lawyers had not identified any specific threat to his safety at the Alexandria jail.

"Think about how it'll play elsewhere", Manafort said in a recorded phone call from jail cited by prosecutors.

Manafort has been charged with numerous criminal counts including tax evasion and bank fraud, but those that have been made public appear to have been committed before his time as then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager.

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.