Paul Manafort treated as prison 'VIP', to be moved

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On monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has said he's being treated as a "VIP", the special counsel said.

Ellis in his opinion posted Wednesday said the warrant special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators obtained "satisfied the Fourth Amendment's particularity and breadth requirements, and as such, suppression of the evidence recovered from the search of defendant's residence is not warranted".

Prosecutors say Manafort has a personal telephone that he uses to prepare for trial with lawyers. One trial is set for July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, and the second case in Washington, D.C., has a September 17 trial date.

Last week Manafort filed a motion seeking to postpone the Virginia trial until after the Washington trial concludes.

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.

Ellis concluded that Manafort's ability to prepare for trial "trumps his personal comfort". Regarding how he's prepared for trial, prosecutors heard him say on a taped call that he's reviewed all evidence before his trial, met with his lawyers every day and has "all my files like I would at home", the filing says.

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The government's description makes it sound somewhat more like a hotel room with some restrictions.

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.

Manafort, who was assigned an extra-large cell, also has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys from 8:30 a.m.to 10:00 p.m., and visitor logs from the prison show that each week Manafort has had multiple visits with his legal team, according to Mueller's filing.

In yet another twist, despite initially arguing that being held at the rural jail hurt his case, Manafort opposed the judge's order, asking to stay at Northern Neck and citing "safety" concerns as the rationale for staying put. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted". Ellis denied Manafort's motion Wednesday and ordered Manafort transferred. Manafort doesn't have to wear a prison jumpsuit, the filing adds.

Manafort's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.

Manafort has also argued that his trial should be moved from Alexandria to Roanoke, where jurors are more likely to support the president, his attorneys told the court.

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