New Britain native Manafort transferred to Alexandria jail

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The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington), and 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

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.

In ordering his transfer to Alexandria, Judge T.S. Ellis wrote, "The professionals at the Alexandria Detention Center are very familiar with housing high-profile defendants including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors". Moreover, he wrote, in the Alexandria jail, Manafort "will actually avoid the discomfort of long commutes during trial days".

The special counsel Robert Mueller, who charged Manafort in both cases, threw cold water on Manafort's argument in a new court filing Wednesday. On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a "VIP'". "Manafort is also not required to wear a prison uniform". According to the filing, Manafort reads and writes emails on a second laptop that his team brings in and out of the prison. In Wednesday's filing, they contend that Manafort's living conditions are not only no harsher than those of his fellow inmates but that they are actually substantially more lenient.

He also has a personal laptop, they say, with an extension cord so he can use it in his unit and not just the workroom.

Paul Manafort has moved, over his objections, to a new jail with a history of illustrious guests. He denied Manafort's request to throw out from the trial evidence investigators had obtained from his apartment in Alexandria last July.

In recent phone calls, they say, Manafort also has said he has "all my files like I would at home" and has "gone through all the discovery now".

"Defendant's access to counsel and his ability to prepare for trial trumps his personal comfort", Ellis said. When his lawyers leave the facility, they reconnect it to the internet and Manafort's emails are sent.

But after a judge ordered him moved to Alexandria so he could be closer, Manafort protested, citing safety concerns.

Ellis has not yet ruled on Manafort's request to postpone his Virginia trial until after his D.C. trial has taken place in September.

But soon after the judge issued his order, Manafort's lawyers essentially told the judge "never mind" and urged the court to keep Manafort in his current jail in Warsaw. They claimed they needed more time to prepare their defense, and they pointed to the location of Manafort's jail as part of the problem. Besides the charges of financial fraud in Virginia, he faces charges in Washington, including violating federal lobbying laws.

Manafort has mounted an aggressive defense against the special counsel, arguing that Mueller's mandate was too broad and that he was not authorized to charge Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian collusion.

Manafort's attorneys have denied the tampering allegations and appealed his detention.

The 69-year old is now under arrest for bank fraud and money laundering with his criminal trial set to commence later this month.

"Manafort can hardly now complain about the order of the trials", the special counsel's attorneys said.

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