Judge snags Manafort's perks with jail transfer

14 July, 2018, 04:05 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman

Paul Manafort arrived at an Alexandria, Va., jail Thursday after a federal judge ordered U.S. Marshals to move the former Trump campaign manager from a rural Virginia facility this week. Still, when Alexandria federal judge T.S. Ellis III ordered him transferred to a facility closer to the courthouse, the former global political consultant rebelled, arguing he was better off staying put.

Manafort had said that being locked up so far from his lawyers made it hard to prepare for his trial on charges of bank and tax fraud.

The federal judge overseeing Paul Manafort's upcoming trial on bank and tax fraud charges is giving prosecutors until Friday to respond to defense requests to move the case to Roanoke, Va., and postpone its start now slated for later this month. On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a "VIP'". In Northern Neck facility, where Manafort was held previously, he had a private phone and computer and did not have to wear a uniform, according to prosecutors.

"Think about how it'll play elsewhere", Manafort said, according to the court filing.

The special counsel's lawyers reported that the jail in Warsaw doesn't allow prisoners to send emails but that Manafort "appears to have developed a workaround" by reading and drafting messages on a second laptop that's brought in and out of the jail by his legal team.

Manafort's complaints about the jail conditions were the basis for a request to delay the trial. He denied Manafort's request to throw out from the trial evidence investigators had obtained from his apartment in Alexandria last July.

Moreover, they pointed out that Manafort told someone in a separate phone call on July 4 that he is able to consult his lawyers everyday, and that he has "all my files like I would at home".

Manafort filed a motion last week asking for his trial to be delayed until this fall, saying it was impossible to fully prepare because of distance and limited electronic and phone access. At that time the judge will also consider Manafort's bid to have the trial moved from Alexandria to Roanoke, 244 miles to the south, or the state capital of Richmond.

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Prosecutors working for the special counsel in the Russian Federation inquiry, Robert Mueller, suggested to Ellis this week that Manafort was trying to delay the Virginia case so that he would face the charges in Washington first.

The judge nevertheless said in a June 21 order that Manafort must be given "reasonable opportunity for private consultation with counsel".

"If five lawyers take up five rooms, then you wait in line for someone to finish", defense attorney Marina Medvin said.If they take up the entire time slot, then you're out of luck - you need to leave and come back and hopefully be first in line". He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

The special counsel said Manafort's actions violated federal law, and therefore violated the terms of his pretrial release.

Manafort's attorneys have denied the tampering allegations and appealed his detention.

His trial in the District of Columbia involves federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges and the witness tampering charge.

Hull said that when jail officials learned Manafort was communicating by email, his attorneys were told to stop the practice.

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