Paul Manafort treated as prison 'VIP', to be moved

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

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. Manafort then asked the judge to let him stay at Northern Neck because "issues of distance and inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety and, more importantly, the challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement and the changing circumstances of detention two weeks before trial".

A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, has ordered Paul Manafort moved to that city's jail to prepare for his upcoming trial on bank and tax fraud charges.

Judge T.S. Ellis gave the special counsel prosecuting Manafort until Friday to respond to those motions.

The Northern Neck Regional Jail is about 100 miles from Washington, and Manafort lawyers wrote in a filing last week that the two-hour trip and restrictions on electronic or telephone communications "has made meetings.to prepare his defense far more infrequent and enormously time-consuming". He has a personal laptop on which he can review materials from the case and access to his own workspace to meet with his legal team, they said.

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He's even got his own "private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units", the filing says.

But the government in opposing court filings painted a picture of Mr. Manafort being treated like a king in prison, noting that he has access to a personal telephone, laptop with extension chord for private use in his own unit and access to all documents. Mueller's office pointed out that the supposed reasons for the delay-including the aforementioned lack of prep time and wanting "passions to cool" so jurors could be impartial-would seem to apply to both cases, yet Manafort has not asked to delay the D.C. case, which is also focuses on his Ukraine work. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted". Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

"Manafort can hardly now complain about the order of the trials", the special counsel attorneys said. His trial in the District involves federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges and the witness tampering charge.

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