When former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was put in jail they took away his tie and his belt. When this happens, you know that there is a concern that those items will be used by the inmate to hang himself and put an end to his misery.
On CNN Friday night former White House Counsel John Dean, a key figure during the Watergate trials, said that he is assuming that Manafort is now on suicide watch, and that’s why his tie and belt were taken away from him.
Talking to Erin Burnett, Dean said, “This man once told his daughter he was suicidal. He threatened to take his life. I assume they’re on watch for that.”
CNN White House correspondent April Ryan also said that taking the tie and belt was a sign. “When you go to prison or jail and they take your tie or belt, they are concerned about suicide,” she said.
Dean was referring to an article in The Atlantic which said that during a period of time when Manafort was feeling depressed he had suggested to his daughter that he might kill himself rather than spend the rest of his life in jail.
According to Dean, Manafort has three choices: cooperate with Mueller, die in jail, or kill himself. He speculated that the extra pressure he would be feeling by sitting in jail might force him to a psychological breaking point where he would see that cooperating was his best option.
“I suspect the prosecutors are hopeful that will happen. This will be a real shock for him tonight if he goes out into Montgomery County, to one of the county jails, or Alexandria—those are all awful places. I know because the number of the Watergate people were placed in them. The reason they don’t go to the D.C. jail, that is the true hell hole,” Dean said.
CNN legal analyst Laura Coates also said that she does not believe Manafort has the ability to withstand the stress he will feel in jail. She said that defendants can easily resist cooperating with prosecutors when they’re living in the comfort of their own home, but that all changes during the first night spent in jail.
“Self-preservation kicks in. There’s something about that orange jumpsuit. Being away from your counsel. Being away from the comfort of home,” Coates said. “Knowing that this particular cage, which is what this is, you can dress it up pretty and call it a cell, but it’s a cage, is all you’re looking at and you know this is all that’s before you, it’s very, very persuasive.”
Coates said that the financial strain and mental stress of sitting in a jail cell makes people much more likely to cooperate.
And if Manafort doesn’t cooperate with Mueller that leaves only the other two choices for him to think about while he’s doing time. Since neither one of those is an attractive option, it is likely that Paul Manafort at this very moment is wondering exactly what kind of deal he can negotiate with the special counsel’s office. And he better hope it’s a good one.