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Paul Manafort May Be Moved To Rikers

Alexandria, Virginia Detention Center
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Alexandria, Virginia Detention Center

Donald-Trump's former campaign chairman and convicted felon Paul Manafort may soon take up residence on Rikers Island, awaiting trial on a raft of state fraud charges. According to the NY Times, he might even be kept isolated from his fellow inmates—which some outlets have interpreted as solitary confinement—to shield him from any would-be attackers.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment on the reported move.

Manafort is currently being held at FCI Loretto, a low-security federal prison with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp, in Pennsylvania. He is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence for assorted money laundering and fraud-related offenses uncovered in the course of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Immediately following his March 13th sentencing—within the hour, in fact—Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance dealt Manafort a 16-count indictment cataloguing, what else, more (alleged) fraud. The timing read as an attempt to head off the possibility of a presidential pardon, but the state investigation, according to Vance, "yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable."

The indictment contends that, among other violations, Manafort falsified business records in order to obtain sham mortgages that earned him millions of dollars.

The Rikers Island prison complex is significantly larger than the penitentiary satellite camp where Manafort has reportedly been held: About 7,500 inmates to the combined 1,006 (913 at Loretto proper, 93 at the camp) currently incarcerated alongside Manafort. It also has a reputation for violence and significant abuses by staff—all told, likely a different experience than Manafort's in Pennsylvania. As such, an unnamed law enforcement source told the Times, big-name inmates usually go into protective custody, i.e., siloed from the general population and placed under tight surveillance by guards.

We have contacted an attorney for Paul Manafort for comment, and will update if we hear back. Meanwhile, the NYC Department of Correction does not have Manafort in its custody at this time, and emphasized that Rikers only uses solitary confinement to punish inmates who have allegedly broken rules.

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