Thursday, 16 August, 2018

After judge's order, former Trump campaign manager arrives at new jail

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016
Glenn Montgomery | 14 July, 2018, 04:02

The subpoenas would require their recipients to testify in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria on July 25, when Manafort's trial in Virginia is set to begin. On Tuesday, he ordered that Manafort be transferred to a jail in Alexandria, about 20 minutes from Washington, "to ensure that defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense". But on Tuesday, Manafort resisted being moved to Alexandria, arguing that while the city jail would be more convenient, he did not want to adjust to new circumstances so close to trial.

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, has been transferred out of the rural Virginia jail where he was allegedly treated like a "VIP" and given "special privileges" - including a large cell, a private bathroom and shower, and a special work space where he was allowed to prepare his case.

In fact, Manafort has reported, in a taped prison call, that he has reviewed all discovery: Just days before filing his motion for a continuance, Manafort told the person on the call that, "I've gone through all the discovery now". They said they gained access to another prison call on June 20 in which Manafort spoke with someone skeptical about delaying the Virginia case and bringing forward a separate trial in Washington, D.C. In the last three weeks, Manafort has had more than 100 phone calls with his attorneys, and another 200 calls with other individuals, according to Wednesday's filing.

"Think about how it'll play elsewhere", Manafort said in a recorded phone call from jail cited by prosecutors.

Manafort has even used a workaround, prosecutors allege, to send more emails to outsiders: He "reads and composes emails on a second laptop that is shuttled in and out of the facility by his team".

Paul Manafort's complaints about his life in jail backfired spectacularly Wednesday.

"Manafort has revealed on the monitored phone calls that in order to exchange emails, he reads and composes emails on a second laptop that is shuttled in and out of the facility by his team", the USA said. The judge added that Manafort's "access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort".

"If five lawyers take up five rooms, then you wait in line for someone to finish", defense attorney Marina Medvin said.If they take up the entire time slot, then you're out of luck - you need to leave and come back and hopefully be first in line". He denied Manafort's request to throw out from the trial evidence investigators had obtained from his apartment in Alexandria last July.

But soon after the judge issued his order, Manafort's lawyers essentially told the judge "never mind" and urged the court to keep Manafort in his current jail in Warsaw. But the judges overseeing both cases against Manafort recently struck down those arguments. Manafort's past charges remain. Besides the charges of financial fraud in Virginia, he faces charges in Washington, including violating federal lobbying laws.

But Manafort's legal team didn't complain until the last minute, the US said.

Manafort is charged with conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud, tax crimes, making false statements and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal.

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