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Manafort To Avoid Time at Rikers Following Letter from Top DOJ Official

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Paul Manafort was reportedly headed for Rikers Island to await trial on the state level in New York but will be held in a federal facility following a letter from a Department of Justice higher-up, reported The New York Times on Monday.

Manafort, a former lobbyist, was convicted on charges of tax illegalities brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russian interference investigation.

Federal prison officials said Monday that the former Trump campaign chairman will not be held at the notorious Rikers Island after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen took an interest in where Manafort was held, The Times reported.

New York prosecutors did not object to Manafort’s attorneys’ proposal that he remain in federal custody and be made available to the state when necessary for health and safety reasons, a senior DOJ official told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Manafort is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan ahead of his arraignment next week, federal prison officials told Manhattan prosecutors Monday, according to a source cited by The Times.

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A senior DOJ official confirmed to TheDCNF that Manafort had been transferred from Pennsylvania, where he is currently serving his sentence, to New York.

Manafort could stay at the Manhattan facility or go back to the Loretto, Pennsylvania, prison where he is serving seven-and-a-half-years, people with knowledge of the matter told The Times. Both are federal facilities.

Manhattan’s district attorney obtained an indictment of Manafort on 16 state felonies in mid-March.

The fraud charges brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. mean Manafort could still have to serve prison time if convicted because President Donald Trump’s commutation and pardon powers extend only to federal sentences.

Manafort is serving a federal sentence as a result of two separate trials.

He pleaded guilty to and was convicted of charges related to political consulting work he did in Ukraine prior to joining the Trump campaign in 2016.

Manafort’s lawyer Todd Blanche, however, continues to object to the charges brought by Vance.

“You’ll find no example of someone like Mr. Manafort being prosecuted by the feds and then by the district attorney for exactly the same conduct,” Blanche said, according to The Times.

Blanche acknowledged the decision not to hold Manafort at Rikers, and Rosen’s involvement, was unusual.

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He asked the warden at the federal prison in Pennsylvania not to allow Manafort to be transferred to state custody because of the prisoner’s health issues in a May 17 letter, reported The Times.

Vance is against allowing Manafort to stay in Pennsylvania and travel to New York because other inmates are not allowed the same treatment, he said in a letter according to The Times.

The Times also reported that Manafort would “most likely be held in solitary confinement while facing state fraud charges” when first writing about the possibility that he go to Rikers, citing people with knowledge of the matter. But solitary confinement is only used at Rikers in connection with violations of department rules, the New York City Department of Correction told TheDCNF in June.

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A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.

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