Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is about to be transferred from his comfortable low-security prison camp in Pennsylvania to what is widely regarded as one of the most hellish prisons in the country: The Rikers island jail complex in New York City.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with plans, the New York Times and Fox News reported that Manafort will soon be transferred after Manhattan prosecutors struck a deal with the Feds to hold him in New York while he faces state fraud charges.
The transfer was reportedly requested by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.'s Office after a New York grand jury indicted Manafort on several fraud counts, including residential mortgage fraud and faking business records. A New York State judge reportedly ordered the transfer at Vance's request.
Manafort was sentenced earlier this year to nearly seven years in federal prison on connection with two federal cases. To guard against the possibility that Trump - who has praised Manafort as "brave" (Manafort struck a plea deal last year, but it was later rescinded after prosecutors determined that he had violated the terms) - might pardon Manafort, prosecutors in New York State pursued charges of their own. Manafort, who is 70 years old, will likely be arraigned on the new charges in State Supreme Court in Manhattan later this month. It's still possible that his lawyers might seek to have him held at a federal jail in New York.
Rikers is a network of nine jails with a total of 7,500 inmates. Typically, the jail hosts inmates in pretrial detention, or those serving a year of less.
Given the prison's violent reputation, high profile inmates are often held in 'protective custody' - that is to say, solitary confinement. It's expected that Manafort would warrant protective custody, and sources familiar with the innerworkings of the prison said he would likely be held in a former prison hospital.
Here's more from the New York Times:
A law-enforcement official familiar with the correction department’s practices, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss security measures, said Mr. Manafort would most likely be housed in a former prison hospital on the island. That is where most high-profile detainees are held, including police officers, those accused of killing police officers, politicians and celebrities.
A lawyer for Mr. Manafort, Kevin Downing, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spokesmen for the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the city’s correction department, which runs the jails on Rikers Island, did not immediately comment.
Federal officials agreed to honor the writ for Manafort under something called the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, a federal law that governs transfers of prisoners between states when they are facing unrelated charges in different jurisdictions.
Remember, Manafort was confined to a wheelchair during part of his trial in Virginia, and his lawyers have claimed that he is in consistently poor health.