Judge Doubles Down On Order To Move Manafort To New Jail

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, departs at Federal District Court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. Manafort, and a former business associate, Rick Gates, have been told to surrender to federal authorities Monday, according to reports and a person familiar with the matter. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

As more details have been revealed about the cushy set-up Paul Manafort has in his current jail, a federal judge doubled down on his order that Manafort be moved to a new detention center — an order Manafort unsuccessfully asked the judge to reverse even though he had complained about the location of the rural Virginia jail currently holding him.

“It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said in a footnote in the latest order. “The dissonance between defendant’s motion to continue and motion opposing transfer to Alexandria Detention Center cannot be easily explained or resolved.”

Ellis was first prompted to order Manafort’s transfer from Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, to the detention center in Alexandria after Manafort complained about the location of Northern Neck in a court filing. Manafort last week asked the judge to delay the trial in the Virginia case — set to start in Alexandria later this month — claiming that his detention was impeding his trial prep. Manafort cited the rural jail’s distance from his attorneys’ offices, arguing it took them two-plus hours to drive there for in-person meetings.

Ellis has scheduled a hearing on the delay request, and on another Manafort request that the trial be moved to Roanoke, for next week. But earlier this week, Ellis also issued an order moving Manafort to the Alexandria detention center. Manafort then asked the judge to let him stay at Northern Neck because “issues of distance and inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety and, more importantly, the challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement and the changing circumstances of detention two weeks before trial.”

Ellis denied Manafort’s request to reverse the order in a court document posted Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mueller, in a court filing opposing the request to delay the trial, alleged that the rural jail had gone out of its way to facilitate Manafort’s trial prep, and said that Manafort himself said on a phone call that he was treated as a “VIP” in Northern Neck. Manafort has had his own living unit with a private bathroom and a personal phone, according to Mueller, and was also not required to wear the jail uniform.

Read the judge’s order that Manafort be moved to the new jail below:

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