Manafort No Longer Wants To Move Jails While He Awaits Trial

Howard TerryJul 12, 2018

Manafort has had hundreds of phone calls to his lawyers and even more to others from jail and sent emails through his lawyers to outside contacts, special counsel Robert Mueller's team wrote in a new filing.

Though Manafort's lawyers have said he spends almost all of his days in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his living arrangements as a "private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates" units' with its own bathroom and shower.

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.

"When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the prosecutors wrote.

Judge T.S. Ellis has not yet ruled whether he will postpone the trial or allow Manafort to change venue to Roanoke.

"Manafort told the person on the call that, "I've gone through all the discovery now", according to the filing.

"It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem", Ellis wrote.

In a recent phone call they say he explained in vague terms why he wanted to go to trial first in D.C. federal court, where he faces related charges in a trial set for September. "The dissonance between defendant's motion to continue and motion opposing transfer. can not be easily explained or resolved". Manafort's remarks appear to undermine his counsel's argument that detaining their client unfairly impedes their ability to prepare for trial.

The developments came as Manafort gets closer to two trials where he will defend himself against a number of charges ranging from bank fraud to failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.

The dueling court filing are part of an ongoing tussle over Manafort's confinement that began after a judge revoked his house arrest last month and ordered him jailed on witness tampering allegations.

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.

Wednesday's special counsel filing also reveals that Mueller's team has been recording calls from Manafort's private phone, and are now using Manafort's own words against him. He instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to move Manafort to Alexandria, as he initially planned.

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