Working for President Trump apparently has its perks — even in prison.
A federal judge has ordered former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be moved from the Virginia facility where he’s locked up after he allegedly claimed to be getting “VIP” treatment behind bars.
Manafort listed as 'VIP' in Virginia jail
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team accused him of making the statement in a court filing on Wednesday.
“On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a ‘VIP,’” the filing stated.
According to prosecutors, the 69-year-old also boasted about having access to a personal laptop and telephone — which he used to make hundreds of phone calls. He even found a way to use his email account.
“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,” prosecutors explained. “When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it re-connects to the Internet and Manafort’s emails are transmitted.”
During one prison call, prosecutors said Manafort — who is accused of bank and tax fraud — bragged about having access to “all my files like I would at home.”
The former Trump campaign head has allegedly made more than 300 calls to his attorneys and several others over the past three weeks. Prosecutors say he speaks to his legal team on a daily basis, with no limits set on how many calls he can make or emails he can send.
“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,” alleged Mueller’s team. “Manafort is also not required to wear a prison uniform.”
Despite all this, Manafort claimed in a recent court filing that he was having difficulty preparing for his trial due to how far the prison was from the courthouse. The federal facility where he is located is in Northern Neck, Va. — roughly 100 miles away from Alexandria, where the courthouse is.
Because of this, Manafort has asked for his July 25 trial to be delayed.
On Tuesday — just one day before Mueller’s team entered the filing about his alleged “VIP” treatment — Manafort was granted a transfer to a city jail in Alexandria. His lawyers, however, pulled a 180 and claimed he was perfectly fine in Northern Neck and wanted to stay.
The judge didn’t care, though — and declined his request.
“It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem,” Judge T.S. Ellis wrote in a separate filing published Wednesday.
“The dissonance between defendant’s motion to continue and motion opposing transfer to the Alexandria Detention Center cannot easily be explained or resolved.”
Manafort is due back in court on July 17. Prosecutors and defense lawyers have been ordered to argue about whether his case should be delayed or moved.
With Post wires
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