Paul Manafort is being kept in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail in order to “guarantee his safety,” his lawyer said in court documents filed this week. “He is locked in his cell for at least 23 hours per day (excluding visits from his attorneys),” defense attorney Kevin Downing wrote.
In a brief filed Thursday, Downing wrote that Manafort is unable to adequately prepare for his two upcoming trails, the first of which starts later this month, while locked up. Manafort’s lawyers also argued that the witness-tampering charges that landed him in jail are not so bad because they did not include threats of physical violence. So they’re asking that Manafort be released.
Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office were having none of it. In its own filing, Mueller’s team said Manafort’s attempt to tamper with witnesses is “no less damaging to the justice system when committed through covert corrupt persuasion than through overt violence.” Last month, Manafort was accused of trying to influence witness testimony while he was under house arrest.
They also wrote that Manafort does not deserve special treatment since the limitations he’s facing “are common to defendants incarcerated pending trial.”
Manafort has reportedly been locked away in the “VIP” section of Virginia’s Northern Neck Regional Jail since he arrived on June 15. John Dowd, former lawyer to President Trump, has called the imprisonment “harsh” and an “outrageous violation” of Manafort’s civil liberties.