Manafort treated as prison ‘VIP’ with his own bathroom, shower, and phone

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Former federal prosecutor Paul Butler said during Wednesday's "All In" that President Donald Trump, his family and his staff seem to have an air about them that they are above the law.

The 69-year-old political operative, who is detained while awaiting trial on charges of financial crimes, made the comments in monitored prison telephone calls, according to a court filing by the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

Prosecutors say Manafort has a personal telephone that he uses to prepare for trial with lawyers. Phone logs show that he has made more than 300 calls, including more than 100 to his lawyers. Judge T.S. Ellis, the federal judge overseeing Manafort's case in Alexandria, Va., ordered Tuesday that U.S. Marshals transfer Manafort to a detention facility in Alexandria - much closer to the Washington metro area, where the former Trump campaign chairman faces two trials.

Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial.

In their court filing Wednesday, prosecutors sought to pick apart Manafort's arguments that he needs to delay the trial because of his jail conditions.

The government's description makes it sound somewhat more like a hotel room with some restrictions.

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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". Manafort's not required to wear a prison uniform and isn't confined to a cell from 8:30 a.m.to 10 p.m., Mueller said.

Prosecutors also said they were in touch with Manafort's lawyers as recently as last week to ask if he had any concerns about being incarcerated, and said he had not raised any issues until now. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month.

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

But prosecutors wrote that in a taped phone call from prison, Manafort told the person on the other end, "I've gone through all the discovery now".

Judge Ellis set a July 17 hearing to discuss Manafort's request to continue the Virginia trial and change venues to Richmond, Virginia. Manafort stands charged with over two dozen counts related to his lobbying work in Ukraine, including tax and bank fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, failure to register as a foreign agent, and making false statements.

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