Manafort served Trump's campaign for almost five months, joining in March 2016 and climbing to be campaign chairman before stepping down in August 2016 after reports of his connections to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. Ellis denied Manafort's motion Wednesday and ordered Manafort transferred.
Attorneys for Manafort had resisted transferring him from the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, to a facility in Alexandra, Virginia, ahead of his upcoming trial. Manafort might be aware of this, so no wonder he's not looking particularly cheery about his current situation.
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered that Manafort, who was indicted as part of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation, move to the Arlington jail so he could better communicate with his lawyers. 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". He has his own bathroom and shower, a private telephone and laptop, and is not required to wear a prison uniform, the prosecutors said.
The developments came as Manafort gets closer to two trials where he will defend himself against a number of charges ranging from bank fraud to failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.
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The Mueller team's court filing said Manafort was being detained in a "living unit" that was bigger than that given to other inmates. Manafort's lawyers have asked a judge to relocate a criminal trial starting later this month because of pretrial publicity.
The special counsel's office is prosecuting Manafort in two separate criminal trials - one in Virginia scheduled for July 25, and another in Washington, DC, set for mid-September. Manafort responded by requesting he be allowed to stay in Warsaw, citing safety concerns and "the challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement" just before trial, Bloomberg reports.
The dueling court filing are part of an ongoing tussle over Manafort's confinement that began after a judge revoked his house arrest last month and ordered him jailed on witness tampering allegations. "Manafort remarked in a taped prison call that he is able to visit with his lawyers every day".