Paul Manafort treated like a 'VIP' in prison, court documents show

Paul Manafort treated like a 'VIP' in prison, court documents show

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's new mugshot was released Thursday.

The 69-year-old political operative, who is detained while awaiting trial on charges of financial crimes, made the comments in monitored prison telephone calls, according to a court filing by the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

Reports have emerged in recent days that Manafort says he is getting the "VIP treatment" in jail, with access to his email, cellphone, a private space and a private bathroom.

Manafort's trial in Alexandria is scheduled to start July 25.

Manafort had argued that being held at the jail, about 100 miles from Washington, D.C., kept him from meeting easily with his legal team.

Manafort was previously free on bail, but his bail was revoked when he was charged with tampering with a witness in a separate criminal case in Washington.

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"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. That's how they know about his "VIP" remark and it's how they know that the claim he can't prepare for the trial is nonsense.

In phone calls reviewed by Mueller, Manafort has told unidentified associates that he's finished going through discovery; meets regularly with his legal team; and has access to all his files, "like I would at home".

"Apparently, but unsurprisingly, the Special Counsel has taken the time to assign personnel to listen to all of the non-privileged phone calls Mr. Manafort makes from jail", they said.

The context for Manafort's comment wasn't clear but he is facing charges related to his work on behalf of clients overseas, including the onetime government of Ukraine and a powerful Russian oligarch. "All these defendants were housed safely in Alexandria pending their respective trials and defendant's experience at the Alexandria Detention Center will presumably be no different". He was bumped to a smaller cell after trial to make way for Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person tried in US court for involvement in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Ellis, the judge in the Virginia case, has directed lawyers for both sides to appear on July 17, to argue about whether the case should be delayed or moved.

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