Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Judge moves Manafort to new jail closer to trial site

Judge moves Manafort to new jail closer to trial site

One trial is set for July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, and the second case in Washington, D.C., has a September 17 trial date.

But on Thursday, July 12, Paul Manafort was removed from Northern Neck Regional Jail and was booked into the Alexandria Detention Center.

In ordering his transfer to Alexandria, Judge T.S. Ellis wrote, "The professionals at the Alexandria Detention Center are very familiar with housing high-profile defendants including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors".

But Attorneys for Manafort say moving to the Alexandria jail would present difficulty before the trial.

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. On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a "VIP'". While Manafort was not required to wear a jail-issued uniform at Northern Neck Regional Jail where he was being housed until Thursday morning, Bertsch says all inmates at the jail in Alexandria are required to wear the dark green jail jumpsuits used at that facility.

"Contrary to Manafort's assertions about his jail conditions, Manafort is in a private unit in which he can review materials and prepare for trial", prosecutors said.

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".

According to the prosecution's filing, Manafort had enjoyed numerous "unique privileges" at the Virginia facility including access to his personal laptop and telephone.

Manafort was jailed last month after Mueller alleged he and an associate "knowingly and intentionally attempted to corruptly persuade another person... with intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding".

But after a judge ordered him moved to Alexandria so he could be closer, Manafort protested, citing safety concerns. The judge added that Manafort's "access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort". He had asked for a postponement until after a separate trial in Washington, D.C., where he faces similar charges. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted".

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

Prosecutors working for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, however, have signaled they are ready to start their case in Virginia on July 25 as planned.

Manafort has mounted an aggressive defense against the special counsel, arguing that Mueller's mandate was too broad and that he was not authorized to charge Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian collusion.

Separately, in Washington federal court, prosecutors building a second criminal case against Manafort disclosed their allegation that the longtime lobbyist's foreign lobbying violations date to the 1980s.

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