Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Paul Manafort says he's being treated 'like a VIP' in jail

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016
Steven Clarke | 12 July, 2018, 00:41

The 69-year-old political operative, who is detained while awaiting trial on charges of financial crimes, made the comments in monitored prison telephone calls, according to a court filing by the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

Manafort asked to delay the trial in Alexandria, Virginia, until after he's been tried in Washington where he's accused of failing to register in the U.S.as an agent of Ukraine and of laundering millions of dollars.

Ellis insisted this week that the transfer proceed even after Manafort's lawyers, citing concerns about his safety and adjusting to a new jail so close to his trial date, asked that he stay put.

Prosecutors say Paul Manafort's July trial in the Eastern District of Virginia should not be postponed as Manafort requested - and they drop several details about Manafort's extensive contact with the outside world while he's behind bars.

Judge T.S. Ellis gave the special counsel prosecuting Manafort until Friday to respond to those motions. Phone logs show that he has made more than 300 calls, including more than 100 to his lawyers. He also has a personal laptop, they say, with an extension cord so he can use it in his unit and not just the workroom.

Though Manafort's lawyers have said he spends almost all of his days in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his living arrangements as a "private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units" with its own bathroom and shower. Mueller's office is calling shenanigans. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted".

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

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Last week, Manafort's lawyers complained that he has to spend 23 hours in solitary confinement in the unit. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month.

Prosecutors say the bulk of the documents handed over recently come from Manafort's own bookkeeping service, and so are not unfamiliar to 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.

"C$3 ontrary to Manafort's assertions about his jail conditions, Manafort is in a private unit in which he can review materials and prepare for trial", the special counsel said in its brief.

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

Manafort told his listener to "think about how it'll play elsewhere".

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