Paul Manafort treated like a 'VIP' in prison, court documents show

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

Lawyers working for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller objected Wednesday to Manafort's bid to delay the trial scheduled for July 25 in Alexandria, Va. "Visitor logs from the prison indicate that each week Manafort has had multiple visits with his legal team".

They also said Manafort has said in the calls that he is able to visit with his lawyers every day and that he has "all my files like I would at home".

Manafort is also reported to have found a "workaround" on the prison's email ban.

Manafort, who was President Trump's campaign chairman for several months, last week asked for his July 25 trial in Alexandria federal court to be delayed until this fall, saying his incarceration in Virginia's Northern Neck has made it too hard to prepare. In the last three weeks alone, he's had more than 100 phone calls with his lawyers and more than 200 with other people.

On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a "VIP'".

Manafort's recorded remark about his access to his files appears to contradict his claim to have had "very limited access to his attorneys and the records" from the discovery process that he needed, the Mueller team said.

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

In earlier court filings, Mr. Manafort's attorney said the distance of Northern Neck jail - two hours from Washington, D.C. - has made it hard to adequately prepare for trial.

Manafort was previously out on bond and under house arrest after being charged, but a federal judge revoked his bail and ordered that he go to jail after prosecutors accused him and an associate of witness tampering.

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

Prosecutors say Paul Manafort gets special treatment during his pretrial confinement and there is no reason to delay the case against him.

Prosecutors also note that Manafort knew his refusal to let the Virginia bank and tax fraud charges be combined with the D.C. case would likely lead to this schedule.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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