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

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 12, 2018

Mueller is now prosecuting Manafort in two separate criminal cases in Virginia and Washington, DC on a dozen criminal charges including tax and bank fraud, conspiracy, lying to investigators, and obstruction of justice. 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".

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

Manafort has also asked for the Virginia trial to be moved to Roanoke, saying northern Virginians were too overwhelmed with news stories about the case and too hostile toward the Trump administration to give him a fair trial.

Last week, attorneys for Manafort asked the court to delay Manafort's trial, claiming their client's detention at the rural facility put an unfair burden on pretrial preparations and specifically citing the distance - more than 100 miles - from Warsaw to Washington, D.C. Manafort also cited the lengthy commute in waiving his right to appear at pretrial hearings.

"Manafort has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys and legal team", it continues.

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Furthermore, prosecutors said Mr. Manafort has his own bathroom and shower, a self-contained living unit - instead of a cell - that is larger than other inmates' space and he is not required to wear a prison uniform.

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".

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". "There is a strategy to it, even in failure, but there's a hope in it".

Manafort told his listener to "think about how it'll play elsewhere". Manafort denies all the charges.

Defense attorneys voiced those concerns in a motion last week asking for the case to be pushed back to this fall, after Manafort goes on trial on related charges in District of Columbia federal court. He instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to move Manafort to Alexandria, as he initially planned.

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