It appears that Paul Manafort’s VIP treatment in a Virginia jail is coming to an end after his attorneys complained about the conditions of his imprisonment. Manafort will soon be transferred from the federal lockup in Warsaw, Virginia where he is currently incarcerated to a jail in Alexandria, Virginia, where his trial will begin on July 25th on bank fraud and tax charges.
The judge on Manafort’s case announced the move after Manafort had requested his trial be delayed because his poor jail conditions didn’t allow him to properly prepare for trial. So rather than delay the trial the judge moved Manafort to a different jail, two hours closer to his attorneys.
Manafort’s attorneys expressed concerns about his safety in a new facility, and also said he would have difficulty “adjusting to a new place of confinement” as they attempted to block the move to Alexandria.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III didn’t buy it, however, saying “The Alexandria jail is very familiar with housing high-profile defendants including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors.”
In denying Manafort’s request to stay where he is, the judge said that Manafort’s “access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort.”
Manafort’s attorneys tried to fight the transfer only days after they had complained that the case should be delayed because he couldn’t properly prepare for trial in his current jail. They said the facility where is now was not conducive to trial preparation and therefore they needed more time to prepare and the trial date should be moved back several months.
After they complained, Mueller’s team provided evidence that Manafort was receiving VIP treatment where he is now, making it seem like he was living in a country club instead of in a jail. As we reported yesterday:
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been able to review evidence and is being treated like a “VIP” in jail, prosecutors said on Wednesday, arguing against Manafort’s efforts to postpone his trial on fraud charges.”
“In a filing to a Virginia federal judge overseeing one of two trials scheduled for Manafort, prosecutors said Manafort’s assertions in court papers about conditions in jail, including limited access to evidence and his attorneys, were untrue.”
“In phone calls taped in his jail, prosecutors said Manafort had remarked that he was being treated like a “VIP”, was able to receive daily visits from lawyers and had access to “all my files like I would at home.”
Manafort wanted to delay his trial and so he complained about his current jail conditions, but Mueller proved he was getting VIP treatment and had nothing to complain about. And now, because he complained, all of his VIP privileges will soon be gone.
In denying the trial delay while forcing the move to a different jail, Judge Ellis wrote: “It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem. The dissonance cannot be easily explained or resolved.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.