Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Manafort Living Like 'VIP' in Jail, Judge Orders Him Transferred

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Andrew Harnik AP file Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman
Ellis Copeland | 12 July, 2018, 01:42

The team prosecuting Donald Trump's former campaign chairman has a message for Paul Manafort: no more excuses.

But in the Wednesday filing, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE argued that Manafort's claims do not hold up because Manafort has said in multiple prison calls that he has had full access to his files and attorneys.

They pointed out that he has had a personal telephone in his unit at the Northern Neck Regional Jail and has had more than 100 phone calls with his lawyers in the last three weeks as they prepare for trial.

Manafort had earlier claimed it was hard to prepare for his trial, slated to begin July 25, because he was almost 100 miles from Alexandria.

Manafort is charged with bank and tax fraud in eastern Virginia and is separately charged in Washington with counts including money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent.

The judge in that case, Amy Berman Jackson, ordered Manafort to be jailed last month after he was accused of attempting to convince potential witnesses to lie on the stand.

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The government team also suggested Manafort may have other reasons for seeking to delay his case in Virginia.

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". "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted".

"It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem", Ellis wrote.

"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", the prosecutors said. "The dissonance between defendant's motion to continue and motion opposing transfer. can not be easily explained or resolved".

Manafort's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. He's also considering Manafort's bid to move the trial to either Richmond or Roanoke, Virginia. He has pleaded not guilty.

"Review of that material can be accomplished well in advance of the July 25 trial date and does not warrant a months-long adjournment", the government filings said. Manafort denies all the charges. They added that Manafort did not raise questions about his access to his attorneys or documents to prepare his defense. But the judges overseeing both cases against Manafort recently struck down those arguments.

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