Lawyers: Manafort in solitary confinement 23 hours a day

Paul Manafort. Photo: Twitter/Paul Manafort

July 8 (UPI) — Lawyers for President Donald Trump‘s former campaign manager Paul Manafort filed an appeal arguing their client’s jail status is hampering his ability to defend himself.

A court document filed Thursday says Manafort is kept in solitary confinement 23 hours per day, excluding visits from his attorneys, at a facility about two hours from his legal team while he awaits his July 25 trial.

Manafort, 69, faces charges in both Alexandria, Va., and Washington D.C., of obscuring his work for pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych‘s Party of Regions. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases, arguing they fall outside of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s jurisdiction.

Manafort was on house arrest from October to June 15, when a federal judge revoked his bail and sent him to jail pending his trial, citing new obstruction charges that include witness tampering.

U.S. Marshals have “determined that if Mr. Manafort is to be detained, solitary confinement is the only way to ensure his security,” the court document said.

Manafort’s lawyers are appealing the revocation, arguing being in a jail two hours from his attorneys’ office “makes it effectively impossible for Mr. Manafort to prepare” for the two upcoming federal criminal trials.

Assistant special counsel Scott Meisler fired back with a filing Thursday that said the appeal notion should be denied, as Manafort’s actions were “committed through covert corrupt persuasion” and his sentence terms “are common to defendants incarcerated pending trial.”

The filing also says the district court has taken steps to minimize the impact on Manafort’s ability to prepare for his upcoming trials and the government has offered to do the same but “Manafort has not sought any relief from the district court or the government, including the Bureau of Prisons, with respect to any confinement conditions.”


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