Judge T.S. Ellis, the federal judge overseeing Manafort's case in Alexandria, Va., ordered Tuesday that U.S. Marshals transfer Manafort to a detention facility in Alexandria - much closer to the Washington metro area, where the former Trump campaign chairman faces two trials. Manafort might be aware of this, so no wonder he's not looking particularly cheery about his current situation.
Manafort, who was charged as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related matters, was moved to Alexandria, Virginia, just days after his lawyers argued that he was being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, hurting his ability to prepare a defense for himself.
"On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a 'VIP, '" prosecutors quoted him as having said. Manafort's not required to wear a prison uniform and isn't confined to a cell from 8:30 a.m.to 10 p.m., Mueller said. Manafort's lawyers have asked a judge to relocate a criminal trial starting later this month because of pretrial publicity.
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In yet another twist, despite initially arguing that being held at the rural jail hurt his case, Manafort opposed the judge's order, asking to stay at Northern Neck and citing "safety" concerns as the rationale for staying put.
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned the third superseding indictment against Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik of Moscow, adding obstruction of justice charges alleging they "knowingly and intentionally attempted to corruptly persuade" two people associated with Manafort's lobbying operation "with intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding". They said they gained access to another prison call on June 20 in which Manafort told a listener skeptical about delaying the Virginia case and bringing forward a separate trial in Washington, D.C.
They also said Manafort has said in the calls that he is able to visit with his lawyers every day and that he has 'all my files like I would at home'.
Manafort's attorneys have denied the tampering allegations and appealed his detention.