Mueller Filing: Manafort Says He's Treated Like 'VIP' with Prison Privileges

Paul Manafort caught on phone call saying he's being treated like a 'VIP' in Virginia jail

Paul Manafort says he's being treated 'like a VIP' in jail

Manafort served Trump's campaign for almost five months, joining in March 2016 and climbing to be campaign chairman before stepping down in August 2016 after reports of his connections to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington), and 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria). He was originally held at Northern Neck Regional Jail, and court documents say that Manafort felt like a "VIP" since he got to have a laptop, a phone, and his own private quarters. Manafort might be aware of this, so no wonder he's not looking particularly cheery about his current situation.

Just ask Manafort's lawyers and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In other words, he had decided he wanted to stay in Northern Neck, where, the special counsel pointed out, Manafort had said he was being treated like a "VIP."

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Manafort, who was assigned an extra-large cell, also has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys from 8:30 10:00 p.m., and visitor logs from the prison show that each week Manafort has had multiple visits with his legal team, according to Mueller's filing.

The judge was unmoved by Manafort's arguments. Manafort faces over 20 criminal charges on offenses including bank fraud, tax fraud, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators.

Manafort's lawyers first sought to use the distance from the Northern Neck facility as a reason to delay his July 25 trial.

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The judge in that case, Amy Berman Jackson, ordered Manafort to be jailed last month after he was accused of attempting to convince potential witnesses to lie on the stand.

Mueller is scrutinizing Manafort as part of his investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election, though the charges are not directly related to his role on President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-Russia ambassador: Trump has done more damage to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in months than Russia has in decades Trump takes credit for increased defense spending by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but says "it isn't almost enough" Trump questions how Russia probe can "proceed" given FBI agent's private comments MORE's campaign.

Government lawyers reported Manafort had over 100 phone calls with his attorneys in the past three weeks.

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"While the opposition does not generally misrepresent the confinement conditions, its cavalier dismissal of the challenges of preparing for back-to-back complex white collar criminal trials while the defendant is in custody shows a lack of concern with fairness or due process", the lawyers wrote. Manafort's charges in both cases stem from his work for pro-Russian Ukrainian political interests.

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