Paul Manafort Transferred To New Prison After Receiving “VIP” Treatment In Old Facility
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was transferred to a new prison Tuesday, just one day before the prosecution charged him with receiving “VIP” treatment at his former rural detention.
According to the prosecution’s filing, Manafort had enjoyed numerous “unique privileges” at the Virginia facility including access to his personal laptop and telephone. The former chairman was also granted his own “self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates’ units, his own bathroom and shower facility… and his own workspace to prepare for trial” says prosecutors. The inmate didn’t even have to wear a prison uniform.
The 69-year old is currently under arrest for bank fraud and money laundering with his criminal trial set to commence later this month.
But, Manafort’s lawyers filed a motion to delay the trial, claiming the considerable distance between the prison and courthouse impeded their trial preparations given that they could not meet with their client when necessary.
The prosecution begged to differ, citing the 300-plus calls Manafort made to his attorneys and several others over the past three weeks. They also noted that he speaks to his legal team on a daily basis, with no limits set on how many calls he can make or emails he can send.
Judge T.S Ellis offered a solution, ordering Manafort be transferred to a closer jailhouse located in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C so that he could meet with his defense more frequently.
Despite their recent complaint, Manafort’s lawyers swiftly objected, citing concerns over the inmate’s safety and the potential “challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement.”
Judge Ellis was reportedly bewildered by the defense’s sudden reversal.
“It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem,” wrote Judge Ellis. But, Ellis remained firm in his decision. The “Defendant’s access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort,” noted Ellis.
Manafort is also currently facing additional charges for violating federal lobbying laws as well as obstructing justice by attempting to sway the testimony of two government witnesses.
Prosecutors for Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe have speculated that the motion for a delay was a strategic move so that Manafort would have to face charges in Washington first.