Manafort in solitary confinement as he awaits trial: lawyers

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

Manafort is one of four Trump campaign or White House aides to have been charged in Mueller's investigation.

The banker "expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign, told (Manafort) about his interest, and eventually secured a position advising the Trump campaign", the filing states.

Manafort's legal team cited his former role as head of the Trump campaign, Mueller's "high profile" and a judge's recent order sending Manafort to jail for allegedly tampering with a witness as reason to change the venue of the trial. "Manafort's lawyers had previously requested that any mention of Trump be kept out of the trial, over concerns that it could influence jurors who already have a strong opinion of the president".

Lawyers for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, asked a federal judge Friday to relocate a criminal trial starting later this month because of pretrial publicity. Trump has also downplayed the charges against Manafort, saying they are unrelated to his time on the campaign.

Lawyers for Paul Manafort are seeking to delay one of his criminal trials and move the location away from Washington, where they say the bias against their client is so great that a fair trial would be "impossible", according to court documents filed in federal court Friday.

While Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has brought a number of indictments related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, there has not yet been any public evidence connecting any directly to Donald Trump. Now he's two hours away by vehicle and can speak with them on the phone for only 10 minutes at a time, his lawyers said.

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Manafort's attorneys say he's in solitary confinement for "at least" 23 hours a day because "the facility can not otherwise guarantee his safety", according to a court filing Thursday.

The first of Manafort's trials begins later this month. Three others - George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and Rick Gates - had pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

"Mr. Manafort's current detention has made meetings with his attorneys to prepare his defense far more infrequent and enormously time-consuming compared to when he remained on house arrest", the filing said.

Manafort has reportedly been locked away in the "VIP" section of Virginia's Northern Neck Regional Jail since he arrived on June 15.

But they are appealing Judge Amy Berman Jackson's decision to send him to jail.

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