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

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

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has said in monitored jail phone calls that he's being treated like a "VIP" while behind bars.

He has his own bathroom and shower, a private telephone and laptop, and is not required to wear a prison uniform, the prosecutors said.

But the new filing reveals a jailhouse phone call recording where Manafort boasts about the special privileges he enjoys as he waits for his scheduled trial to start July 25.

Prosecutors also said Mr. Manafort has access to his own separate workroom to meet with lawyers at the Northern Neck Jail in Warsaw, Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington revoked Manafort's bail last month, saying she had no choice but to lock him up because of alleged witness tampering.

Defense attorneys voiced those concerns in a motion last week asking for the case to be pushed back to this fall, after Manafort goes on trial on related charges in District of Columbia federal court.

Judge T.S. Ellis wrote in a filing published Wednesday that Manafort's "access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort".

"When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the Internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", they wrote. In a document dated July 10 but made public on Wednesday, Ellis wrote: "It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem". They made clear they were not monitoring what was discussed in his calls with lawyers, but rather relying on a prison telephone log to note which calls were taking place.

Prosecutors said that at the time Manafort was jailed June 15 and at multiple times since, they have offered to help if there were any issues with the jail location or conditions.

The Mueller team's court filing said Manafort was being detained in a "living unit" that was bigger than that given to other inmates.

Manafort, in his suppression request, argued that the warrant wasn't specific enough in describing the evidence it sought to seize, and that its scope was broader than the probable cause on which it was based.

Manafort also appears to have found a workaround to the restriction on electronic communication by reading and composing emails on a second laptop that is carried in and out of the cell by his legal team, the prosecutors said. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. But the judges overseeing both cases against Manafort recently struck down those arguments.

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