Paul Manafort has said on monitored prison phone calls that he's being treated as a "VIP", and has no reason to seek a delay in his trial, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Wednesday.
"Because he is a high-profile inmate, Mr. Manafort will be placed in protective custody which limits his interactions with other inmates", Sheriff Dana Lawhorne said in a statement. On Tuesday, he ordered that Manafort be transferred to a jail in Alexandria, about 20 minutes from Washington, "to ensure that defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense".
"Contrary to Manafort's assertions about his jail conditions, Manafort is in a private unit in which he can review materials and prepare for trial", prosecutors said.
Inmates are seen at the jail in the stock photo on the bottom right.
Earlier this week, the judge had ordered that Manafort be moved from the Northern Neck jail, more than 100 miles away from his lawyers, to the Alexandria Detention Center near the courthouse.
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Despite their recent complaint, Manafort's lawyers swiftly objected, citing concerns over the inmate's safety and the potential "challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement".
Attorneys for Manafort also took issue with prosecutors' revelation of the content of some of Manafort's personal phone calls and suggested that Manafort was sugar-coating his conditions of confinement to ease the concern of friends and family. "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".
The conditions under which he's being held are considered standard for numerous high-profile inmates housed in the jail's VIP section because of security concerns.
While the Virginia case appears to be a fairly straightforward bank fraud and money-laundering prosecution, the Washington case may be more politically perilous to the White House because it could touch on the Trump campaign's possible connections to pro-Russian forces.
During his time at Northern Neck jail, ABC News reported that Manafort stayed in a cell by himself in the facility's VIP section, surrounded by walls painted in two shades of brown: bagel and biscuit. The unit includes a work space and a private shower. 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".