Paul Manafort treated as prison 'VIP', to be moved

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016

Prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday that Manafort has told people he is being treated like a "VIP" in the Northern Neck jail, where he has his own phone and computer, writes emails and does not have to wear a uniform.

"Among the unique privileges Manafort enjoys at the jail are a private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units, his own bathroom and shower facility, his own personal telephone, and his own workspace to prepare for trial", the prosecutors wrote.

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

Manafort is scheduled to stand trial on financial crimes starting July 25. 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.

Not long after Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) Judge T.S. Ellis III had some stern words for Paul Manafort's lawyers and ordered the defendant to be transferred to the Alexandria Detention Center, Manafort's team has made a decision to fight back on another front.

Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial.

In case you missed it, Manafort's team argued earlier that their client's living conditions in jail were preventing him from adequately preparing for his trial.

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The government's description makes it sound somewhat more like a hotel room with some restrictions.

"Manafort has revealed on the monitored phone calls that 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", Mueller's team said.

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

Ellis insisted this week that the transfer proceed even after Manafort's lawyers, citing concerns Tuesday about his safety and adjusting to a new jail so close to his trial date, asked that he stay put.

On Wednesday, Ellis denied Manafort's request and ordered him moved to the Alexandria Detention Center, rejecting the notion that he would not be safe there.

Manafort had argued that being held at the jail, about 100 miles from Washington, D.C., kept him from meeting easily with his legal team. Ellis said he made that decision in response to Manafort's complaints about the difficulty in getting ready for the trial.

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. He instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to move Manafort to Alexandria, as he initially planned.

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