Judge orders Paul Manafort moved to suburban Washington jail

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U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has said in monitored jail phone calls that he's being treated like a "VIP" while behind bars.

Manafort has had hundreds of phone calls to his lawyers and even more to others from jail and sent emails through his lawyers to outside contacts, special counsel Robert Mueller's team wrote in a new filing. They said they gained access to another prison call on June 20 in which Manafort told a listener skeptical about delaying the Virginia case and bringing forward a separate trial in Washington, D.C.

Manafort claims he is getting inadequate time and resources to prepare for his July 25 trial, but details revealed in the documents argue otherwise.

Judge T.S. Ellis gave the special counsel prosecuting Manafort until Friday to respond to those motions. In the last three weeks, Manafort has had more than 100 phone calls with his attorneys, and another 200 calls with other individuals, according to the filing. He has a personal laptop on which he can review materials from the case and access to his own workspace to meet with his legal team, they said.

Though Manafort's lawyers have said he spends almost all of his days in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his living arrangements as a "private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than other inmates' units" with its own bathroom and shower. "Manafort is also not required to wear a prison uniform".

"Manafort has spoken to his attorneys every day, and often, multiple times a day", the government observed.

Manafort asked for the delay on the grounds he has been unable to prepare for his trial properly since being jailed. While Manafort's lawyers days ago said that he was in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day because the jail couldn't guarantee his safety, the government's portrayal suggested his circumstances are much less grim, a fact that Manafort himself tacitly admitted, when he said in a monitored conversation that he was being treated like a "VIP".

Not only has Manafort done a good amount of prep already, he also has ample opportunity for additional work.

Ellis issued the order after Mueller's prosecutors challenged Manafort's complaints about the conditions in his current facility, citing visitor logs and recorded phone calls showing he was detained in comfort with nearly unfettered access to his legal team. Prior to being moved into his own private living space, Manafort reportedly lived in a "VIP cell" once occupied by former National Football League player Michael Vick. He has scheduled a hearing on both issues for Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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