Former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort Boasts of VIP Treatment in Jail

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

One trial is set for July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, and the second case in Washington, D.C., has a September 17 trial date.

A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington on Thursday denied the former Trump campaign chairman's bid for freedom, saying he'd not shown them that his request should be granted before they rule on his underlying challenge. Judge T.S. Ellis said the move will "ensure that the defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense", The Washington Post reported. 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.

The special counsel Robert Mueller, who charged Manafort in both cases, threw cold water on Manafort's argument in a new court filing Wednesday. He told people over a recorded phone line from the jail that he was being treated like a VIP and had reviewed all of the evidence before the trial, prosecutors said. They also say he has his own workspace and has had more than 100 phone calls with lawyers in the last three weeks.

"Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about the latest allegation changes our defense", Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said. In Wednesday's filing, they contend that Manafort's living conditions are not only no harsher than those of his fellow inmates but that they are actually substantially more lenient.

"Manafort also possesses a personal laptop that he is permitted to use in his unit", prosecutors wrote.

Manafort has had hundreds of phone calls with his lawyers and even more with others and has sent emails through his lawyers to outside contacts, the special counsel's office wrote in the filing. "Having just complained" about the jail in Warsaw, Virginia, he wrote, Manafort's lawyers had not identified any specific threat to his safety at the Alexandria jail.

"Defendant's access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort", Ellis said.

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In recent phone calls, they say, Manafort also has said he has "all my files like I would at home" and has "gone through all the discovery now".

A hearing on Manafort's request for the trial delay is scheduled for July 17. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the prosecutors said.

Manafort has asked to delay the Virginia trial for months.

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. They added that Manafort did not raise questions about his access to his attorneys or documents to prepare his defense. Besides the charges of financial fraud in Virginia, he faces charges in Washington, including violating federal lobbying laws. Manafort's past charges remain.

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

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.

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