Paul Manafort Avoids Going To Rikers Island After Trump Deputy Attorney General Intercedes
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman, will remain in federal custody as he faces state fraud charges, instead of being transferred to Rikers Island as was previously reported.
According to a Justice Department official who declined to be named, Manafort’s lawyers brought up concerns over their client’s health and safety if he was transferred to the notorious jail. Instead, his legal team proposed that he remain in federal custody so that he would be more readily available to state prosecutors if they needed to question him further. This request was backed up by a letter from the deputy to Attorney General William Barr opposing the decision to hold Manafort at Rikers. The official said that the Justice Department decided to “err on the side of caution” and granted Manafort’s request. Rikers has been plagued by violence and mismanagement, prompting activists to advocate for its closing, so Manafort managed to dodge a bullet, maybe literally, by remaining in federal custody.
While it is unusual for a federal inmate facing state charges not to be held on Rikers, Manafort’s case is also unusual in that he is being charged for the same conduct on both the state and federal levels. Manafort is currently serving a seven-and-a-half-year federal sentence for financial schemes that were discovered as part of the investigation into Trump and his campaign. In addition to his federal charges, Manafort is also being accused of 16 New York State felonies, including mortgage fraud and falsifying financial documents. The former Trump advisor will have to face both federal and state punishment. The goal of Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., was to ensure that Manafort would face prison time even if he was pardoned of his federal crimes by Trump.