Monday, 16 July, 2018

Mueller asks court for 100 more blank subpoenas ahead of Manafort trial

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016
Lisa Bryan | 14 July, 2018, 04:01

Manafort was previously being held at a rural Virginia jail about two hours from Washington, D.C.

Manafort asked to delay the trial in Alexandria, until after he's been tried in Washington, where he's accused of failing to register in the U.S.as an agent of Ukraine, laundering millions of dollars and obstruction of justice. In Wednesday's filing, they contend that Manafort's living conditions are not only no harsher than those of his fellow inmates but that they are actually substantially more lenient. He does not stay in a cell, but rather has a separate workroom and private bathroom and shower in his holding area. The former Trump aide apparently didn't even have to wear a prison jumpsuit.

According to the prosecution's filing, Manafort had enjoyed numerous "unique privileges" at the Virginia facility including access to his personal laptop and telephone.

But Ellis ordered that "to the extent practically possible", Manafort should be able to meet with his lawyers for 8 hours a day until the July 25 trial.

"Manafort should not be permitted to obtain a two- or three-month continuance based on circumstances he has never challenged or sought relief from, in spite of repeated invitations to do so", prosecutors wrote. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted". In a court filing, lawyers with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation said Manafort made the comment in monitored prison phone calls.

Previously, they had described him as being kept in "solitary confinement" nearly 24 hours a day for his own safety. In his ruling, he wrote, "The professionals at the Alexandria Detention Center are very familiar with housing high-profile defendants". Manafort is now being housed in the Alexandria Detention Center on the south side of Washington, D.C. beltway.

"The judge wants to get it moving", he said. 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 Wednesday's filing. The search was not too broad, as Manafort had alleged, and did not violate his constitutional rights, Ellis said.


Judge Ellis was reportedly bewildered by the defense's sudden reversal. A day earlier, Ellis had denied Manafort's attempt to throw out the evidence from boxes of business files investigators found in a storage unit.

Prosecutors said most of the documents handed over recently are from Manafort's own bookkeeping service and are not unfamiliar to him.

The judge was unmoved by Manafort's arguments.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

Manafort at the time was both registered as a foreign lobbyist and leading a federal agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. He said Manafort is not doing any kind of "email workaround" of the sort the prosecutors described. He was not charged with a crime then.

In a filing to Ellis on Wednesday, Mueller's prosecutors laid out their case for no delay. Manafort's charges in both cases stem from his work for pro-Russian Ukrainian political interests. His second criminal trial, in DC federal court, is set to begin in mid-September and will focus on foreign lobbying-related criminal violations.

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