Connect with us

World News

Paul Manafort to Be Sent to Rikers, Where He Will Be Held in Isolation



[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]

Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman who is serving a federal prison sentence, is expected to be transferred within the next few weeks to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, where he will most likely be held in isolation while facing state fraud charges, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Mr. Manafort was convicted last year on federal bank fraud, tax and conspiracy charges in two related cases and is serving a seven-and-a-half-year federal prison sentence in Pennsylvania. The Manhattan district attorney obtained an indictment of Mr. Manafort on state mortgage fraud charges in an effort to ensure he would still face prison if Mr. Trump pardoned him for his federal crimes.

Mr. Manafort, 70, will most likely be arraigned on the new charges in State Supreme Court in Manhattan later this month and held at Rikers, although his lawyers could seek to have him held at a federal jail in New York, the people with knowledge said.

High-profile inmates are generally held in protective custody on Rikers Island, a network of nine jails with a total of 7,500 inmates, including pretrial detainees and convicts serving sentences of a year or less. Inmates in protective custody are isolated from the general population under heavy guard.

Rikers Island has been plagued by violence and mismanagement over the years, prompting efforts to close the jail complex.

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 respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the city’s correction department, which runs the jails on Rikers Island, declined to comment, saying only that Mr. Manafort was not currently in the agency’s custody. A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office also declined to comment.

The move to one of the most notorious urban jails in the country would mark a notable fall for Mr. Manafort, who once moved in elite circles and commanded lucrative fees for political consulting work in Ukraine.

He once wore ultraluxury clothes, including a $33,000 blue lizard jacket, an $18,000 suede coat and $12,000 suits, but will likely will trade in his federal prison garb for a drab khaki shirt and trousers at Rikers.

It is unclear precisely how long Mr. Manafort would be held at Rikers, although he is expected to await his trial in New York.

A law enforcement official familiar with the jail’s practices said he would probably be held in one of the oldest buildings in the island, known as the North Infirmary Command, which was built in the early 1930s, or in one of the complex’s newest structures, a set of fiberglass tent-like structures known as “Sprungs.”

Cell blocks in the infirmary command have eight cells and a day room with a television on each tier, the official said. The inmates are not locked in their cells during the day.

In March, a Manhattan grand jury handed up an indictment charging Mr. Manafort with 16 state felonies, including residential mortgage fraud, and accusing him of a yearlong scheme in which he allegedly falsified business records to obtain millions of dollars in loans. The new case was brought by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but has no such authority in state cases.

While Mr. Trump has not said he intends to pardon his former campaign chairman, he has often spoken of his power to pardon and has defended Mr. Manafort on a number of occasions, calling him a “brave man.”

The federal charges on which Mr. Manafort was convicted were brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice has been repeatedly labeled “a witch hunt” by Mr. Trump and his supporters.

Federal prison officials have agreed to honor a writ for Mr. Manafort from the Manhattan district attorney’s office under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, a federal law that governs transfers of prisoners sentenced in unrelated trials between two states, and transfers between federal and state custody.

Mr. Manafort is serving his federal sentence in Pennsylvania at F.C.I. Loretto, a low-security prison with 913 inmates and an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp with 93, according to the United States Bureau of Prisons’ website. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Manafort is in the prison or the camp.

Source link