President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is being held on witness tampering charges as he awaits trial on fraud, money laundering and other charges related to the Russian Federation probe.
Prosecutors filed a motion Wednesday opposing a continuance requested by Manafort's attorneys, one day after defense lawyers unexpectedly asked the court to keep their client at the Virginia jail where he's now being held, reported NPR.
In the meantime, he said Manafort would be moved from the Northern Neck to the jail in Alexandria, in suburban Washington, "to ensure that the defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense".
The special counsel's lawyers reported that the jail in Warsaw doesn't allow prisoners to send emails but that Manafort "appears to have developed a workaround" by reading and drafting messages on a second laptop that's brought in and out of the jail by his legal team.
Manafort is scheduled for trial on July 25 on charges arising from work he performed for pro-Russia Ukrainian interests.
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Manafort's lawyers have said they cannot properly prepare for trial with a client jailed two hours outside of Washington, D.C. In response, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered Manafort moved from his current jail to one in Alexandria, Virginia, where the federal courthouse is located, so that he can be closer to his lawyers. In the last three weeks alone, he's had more than 100 phone calls with his lawyers and more than 200 with other people.
But the government in opposing court filings painted a picture of Mr. Manafort being treated like a king in prison, noting that he has access to a personal telephone, laptop with extension chord for private use in his own unit and access to all documents. "There is a strategy to it, even in failure, but there's a hope to it".
Manafort told his listener to "think about how it'll play elsewhere". Mr. Manafort's attorneys have sought to push back his trial until fall, alleging his incarceration has made it hard to communicate. He has not ruled on whether the trial should be delayed or moved to another location. "The dissonance between defendant's motion to continue and motion opposing transfer to Alexandria Detention Center can not be easily explained or resolved".