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

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

Lawyers working for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller objected Wednesday to Manafort's bid to delay the trial scheduled for July 25 in Alexandria, Va.

In a rebuttal, Manafort's lawyers said the effort put into monitoring their client's phone calls showed that Mueller had "unlimited resources" and accused his office of choosing conversations "to support its version of events".

He has a personal laptop on which he can review materials from the case and access to his own workspace to meet with his legal team, they said. He even found a way to use his email account.

While he isn't technically allowed to send or receive emails, Manafort has, according to the special counsel, developed a workaround, revealing on a monitored phone call 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".

"When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it reconnects to the internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", the prosecutors wrote.

Government lawyers reported Manafort had over 100 phone calls with his attorneys in the past three weeks.

No further information was provided in the filing, and a spokesman for the special counsel did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Manafort had initially argued that his detention in Northern Neck, Virginia, a couple of hours outside Washington, has impeded his ability to work on his defense for his fraud trials.

Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager, had asked for his July 25 trial on bank and tax fraud charges to be delayed in large part because it was hard to prepare while incarcerated 100 miles away.

On Tuesday - just one day before Mueller's team entered the filing about his alleged "VIP" treatment - Manafort was granted a transfer to a city jail in Alexandria. In a document dated July 10 but made public on Wednesday, Ellis wrote: "It is surprising and confusing when counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem". "The dissonance between defendant's motion to continue and motion opposing transfer to the Alexandria Detention Center can not easily be explained or resolved".

'While the opposition does not generally misrepresent the confinement conditions, its cavalier dismissal of the challenges of preparing for back-to-back complex white collar criminal trials while the defendant is in custody shows a lack of concern with fairness or due process, ' the lawyers wrote. He has not ruled on whether the trial should be delayed or moved to another location.

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