Manafort treated like ‘VIP’ in jail, prosecutors say
President Donald Trump’s jailed former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has said in monitored phone calls that he is being treated like a “VIP” while behind bars, federal prosecutors said Wednesday as they argued against postponing his financial crimes trial. Defense lawyers called the statements from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office “self-serving and inaccurate.”
The dueling court filings are part of an ongoing tussle over Manafort’s confinement that began after a judge revoked his house arrest last month and ordered him jailed on witness tampering allegations. Since then, Manafort’s lawyers have said they cannot properly prepare for a trial scheduled to start later this month with a client jailed two hours outside of Washington, D.C.
In response, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III directed that Manafort be moved from his current jail to one in Alexandria, Virginia, where the federal courthouse is located, so that he can be closer to his lawyers. Ellis insisted this week that the transfer proceed even after Manafort’s lawyers, citing concerns Tuesday about his safety and adjusting to a new jail so close to his trial date, asked that he stay put.
Manafort is scheduled for trial on July 25 on assorted charges arising from his Ukrainian political work.