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

Then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort may face evidence at trial about alleged wrongdoing in the 1980s and lost a bid to stay at a jail where he said he was being treated like a "VIP," court papers on Wednesday showed. Prosecutors then said his living situation in the rural Virginia jail was more indulgent than what's given to other inmates. Contrary to Manafort's assertions, the prosecutors argued that his jail, while located two hours from Washington, had provided him with ample access to his lawyers and had not hindered his preparation for trial.

Manafort, who is being prosecuted by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, had asked for that trial to be continued in large part because he was being held 100 miles away in the Northern Neck Regional Jail.

"Think about how it'll play elsewhere", Manafort said in a recorded phone call from jail cited by prosecutors.

"Manafort has revealed on the monitored phone calls that 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", the USA said. "When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the prosecutors said. Since then, Manafort's lawyers have said they can not properly prepare for a trial scheduled to start later this month with a client jailed two hours outside of Washington, D.C. The prosecution argues Manafort's lawyers selected conversations "to support its version of events", but in actuality Manafort has had "unlimited resources" to prepare for the upcoming trial.

Last week, Manafort's lawyers complained that he has to spend 23 hours in solitary confinement in the unit.

Manafort's life inside the Alexandria facility will be just as secure - but likely not in as expansive a suite. Jailers there are "very familiar with housing high-profile defendants, including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors", he wrote.

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The Alexandria Detention Center is operated by the Alexandria Sheriff's Office and houses approximately 400 inmates, including federal inmates under an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Manafort's trial in Virginia is expected to begin later this month.

Ellis delivered another piece of bad news for Manafort in a second court order Wednesday. Visitors' logs show Manafort having multiple visits each week with his lawyers, according to the prosecutors.

Judge Ellis was reportedly bewildered by the defense's sudden reversal. A three-judge federal appeals court panel on Thursday denied Manafort's request to be released pending his appeal of his detention.

Judge Ellis set a July 17 hearing to discuss Manafort's request to continue the Virginia trial and change venues to Richmond, Virginia.

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