Prosecutors: Manafort says he's treated like 'VIP' in jail

Prosecutors: Manafort says he's treated like 'VIP' in jail

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.

The 69-year-old political operative, who is detained while awaiting trial on charges of financial crimes, made the comments in monitored prison telephone calls, according to a court filing by the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

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, Manafort has had more than 100 phone calls with his attorneys, and another 200 calls with other individuals, according to the filing.

The filing also asserts that Manafort has a personal telephone, laptop with extension court for private use in his own unit and access to all necessary documents.

They also said Manafort has said in the calls that he is able to visit with his lawyers every day and that he has "all my files like I would at home".

Prosecutors say Paul Manafort gets special treatment during his pretrial confinement and there is no reason to delay the case against him. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the filing stated.

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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.

Prosecutors said that at the time Manafort was jailed June 15 and at multiple times since, they have offered to help if there were any issues with the jail location or conditions.

"Review of that material can be accomplished well in advance of the July 25 trial date and does not warrant a months-long adjournment", the government filings said.

Prosecutors also note that Manafort knew his refusal to let the Virginia bank and tax fraud charges be combined with the D.C. case would likely lead to this schedule. 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.

Manafort told his listener to "think about how it'll play elsewhere".

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

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