Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, had asked for his July 25 trial on bank and tax-fraud charges to be delayed in large part because it was hard to prepare while incarcerated 100 miles away at a regional jail in Warsaw, Va. Manafort is incarcerated in Virginia, and he recently asked the court to push back the latter trial date, arguing that the circumstances of his incarceration mean he won't be ready for the trial in time.
Manafort, who served as President Trump's campaign manager from June to August 2016, was booked into Virginia's Alexandria Detention Center Thursday amid an ongoing courtroom tussle over his confinement.
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.
For now, though, the old cliche that a picture is worth 1,000 words comes to mind because the mugshot of a former Trump campaign official in an inmate jumpsuit says a hell of a lot about how serious Mueller is about his investigation and how much those caught up in it stand to lose.
Manafort has even "developed a workaround" to send emails, which prisoners normally would not be allowed to do, according to prosecutors.
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But Ellis ordered that "to the extent practically possible", Manafort should be able to meet with his lawyers for 8 hours a day until the July 25 trial.
The defense team also criticized Mueller's apparent use of personnel to monitor Manafort's non-privileged phone calls.
"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".
Manafort's attorneys criticized the prosecutors' descriptions of the jail conditions and his emailing tactics, saying the idea of being a VIP is exaggerated. A filing from special counsel Robert Mueller's office might shed some light on why Manafort wanted to stay where he is.
Previously, they had described him as being kept in "solitary confinement" nearly 24 hours a day for his own safety.
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"The professionals at the Alexandria Detention Center are very familiar with housing high-profile defendants including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors", he wrote in an order Wednesday.
"All of those defendants were housed safely in Alexandria pending their respective trials", Ellis continued, "and defendant's experience at the Alexandria Detention Center will presumably be no different".
Judge T.S. Ellis III had directed the U.S. Marshals Service to move Manafort from the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., and bring him closer to the courthouse in Alexandria, Va., just outside Washington. Prosecutors oppose changing the trial plans.
"Think about how it'll play elsewhere", Manafort said, according to the court filing. The search was not too broad, as Manafort had alleged, and did not violate his constitutional rights, Ellis said. A day earlier, Ellis had denied Manafort's attempt to throw out the evidence from boxes of business files investigators found in a storage unit.
Manafort's attorneys have denied the tampering allegations and appealed his detention.
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