Manafort says he’s being treated like a 'VIP' in jail: Court filing

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On monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has said he's being treated as a "VIP", the special counsel said.

Paul Manafort may be in jail, but he's getting treated better than other inmates, according to special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is arguing against Manafort's call for his trial date to be pushed back.

Manafort is scheduled for trial on July 25 on charges arising from work he performed for pro-Russia Ukrainian interests.

Ellis concluded that Manafort's ability to prepare for trial "trumps his personal comfort".

In case you missed it, Manafort's team argued earlier that their client's living conditions in jail were preventing him from adequately preparing for his trial.

The back-and-forth matters because Manafort has cited restrictive conditions of his pretrial detention as a reason to postpone his case on bank and tax fraud charges until at least the autumn.

"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", Mueller's team said.

Last week, Manafort's lawyers complained that he has to spend 23 hours in solitary confinement in the unit.

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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 a.m.to 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.

Manafort's trial in Virginia is expected to begin later this month. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the filing stated.

But prosecutors wrote that in a taped phone call from prison, Manafort told the person on the other end, "I've gone through all the discovery now".

Manafort has been held there since June 15, when a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered him detained, partly because of new charges that he had attempted to tamper with witnesses.

On Wednesday, Ellis denied Manafort's request and ordered him moved to the Alexandria Detention Center, rejecting the notion that he would not be safe there.

Prosecutors have not yet responded to that motion, but in Wednesday's filing they question why Manafort did not file a similar request in D.C., "a venue that presumably Manafort views as akin to the Alexandria venue he seeks to avoid".

Manafort has also argued that his trial should be moved from Alexandria to Roanoke, where jurors are more likely to support the president, his attorneys told the court.

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