Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former presidential campaign chairman, was recorded saying he is being treated "like a VIP" in jail despite complaining publicly about the conditions, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
In earlier court filings, Mr. Manafort's attorney said the distance of Northern Neck jail - two hours from Washington, D.C. - has made it hard to adequately prepare for trial.
The filing also asserts that Manafort has a personal telephone, laptop with extension court for private use in his own unit and access to all necessary documents. Phone logs show that he has made more than 300 calls, including more than 100 to his lawyers.
Manafort - who is facing charges for an assortment of alleged financial crimes, as well as failure to disclose foreign lobbying - has pleaded not guilty in both cases.
Manafort's lawyers have said they cannot properly prepare for trial with a client jailed two hours outside of Washington, D.C. In response, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered Manafort moved from his current jail to one in Alexandria, Virginia, where the federal courthouse is located, so that he can be closer to his lawyers.
Manafort's will now be housed in an Alexandria, Virginia facility.
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Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial.
"In light of Mr. Manafort's continuing detention and after further reflection, issues of distance and inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety and, more importantly, the challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement and the changing circumstances of detention two weeks before trial", Manafort's team wrote to the judge in the case.
"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 prosecutors said. "The dissonance between defendant's motion to continue and motion opposing transfer to the Alexandria Detention Center can not easily be explained or resolved". But Mueller's office appeared to throw cold water on several of Manafort's arguments in Wednesday's filing opposing Manafort's request. Manafort doesn't have to wear a prison jumpsuit, the filing adds. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month.
Prosecutors also note that Manafort knew his refusal to let the Virginia bank and tax fraud charges be combined with the D.C. case would likely lead to this schedule.
In the tweet below, you can see the Mueller footnote accusing Manafort of skirting jail rules.
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