Judge orders Paul Manafort moved to suburban Washington jail

Jul 12, 2018, 21:22
Judge orders Paul Manafort moved to suburban Washington jail

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. Contrary to Manafort's assertions, the prosecutors argued that his jail, while located two hours from Washington, had provided him with ample access to his lawyers and had not hindered his preparation for trial. 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". For now the trial in Virginia is still set to begin July 25.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington revoked Manafort's bail last month, saying she had no choice but to lock him up because of alleged witness tampering.

"Manafort has revealed on the monitored phone calls that 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", Mueller's team said.

In their court filing today, prosecutors sought to pick apart Manafort's arguments that he needs to delay the trial because of his jail conditions.

But the special counsel's team reported on Wednesday that Manafort told an unnamed person by phone that "I've gone through all the discovery now", only days before his lawyers filed a motion to continue the case.

Manafort was also afforded his own bathroom, shower and workspace, according to the court filing by Mueller's office.

"Apparently, but unsurprisingly, the Special Counsel has taken the time to assign personnel to listen to all of the non-privileged phone calls Mr. Manafort makes from jail", they said.

"While the opposition does not generally misrepresent the confinement conditions, its cavalier dismissal of the challenges of preparing for back-to-back complex white collar criminal trials while the defendant is in custody shows a lack of concern with fairness or due process", the lawyers wrote. Manafort denies all the charges.

Manafort's will now be housed in an Alexandria, Virginia facility.

Judge T.S. Ellis has not yet ruled whether he will postpone the trial or allow Manafort to change venue to Roanoke.

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