Manafort Stays Out of Rikers, With Unusual Help

Barr's deputy intervenes to stop temporary transfer
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2019 4:47 PM CDT
Manafort Stays Out of Rikers, With Unusual Help
Paul Manafort leaves court last year. An effort by his lawyers has helped him avoid a stay at Rikers Island jail.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Paul Manafort, President Trump's onetime campaign manager, has been spared from a planned transfer to the notorious Rikers Island jail after the Department of Justice stepped in. Manafort, who has been imprisoned in Pennsylvania, was scheduled to be moved to Rikers while awaiting a state trial in New York, ABC reports. A senior DOJ official said the department intervened—which is rare—after Manafort's attorneys raised concerns about his health and safety and asked that he remain in federal custody. Manafort was convicted last year of financial fraud in two cases that came out of Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He's serving a 7½-year sentence, per NBC.

Manhattan prosecutors were surprised to be asked about the transfer by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, the New York Times reports. They were then told by federal prison officials that Manafort would not be staying at Rikers. Rosen was confirmed to the No. 2 spot in William Barr's department last month. Trump has suggested he might pardon Manafort and has complained about his treatment. When asked by Rosen, Manhattan's district attorney did not object to keeping Manafort out of Rikers, per NBC. "Our office takes no position on the question of where Mr. Manafort should be housed when he is in New York," Cy Vance said. (Read more Rikers Island stories.)

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