Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager who was convicted of multiple federal crimes, will no longer be transferred to New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail after all, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Manafort, 70, is awaiting trial after being indicted on 16 state felonies in New York and was expected to be moved to the facility in the coming days. But the Times reported that Jeffrey Rosen, the new deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice, intervened, writing a letter to Manhattan’s district attorney to indicate that he “was monitoring where Mr. Manafort would be held in New York.”
Prison officials decided on Monday that Manafort would instead head to either the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan or remain at the low-security federal prison in Pennsylvania where he is currently being held.
Just weeks ago, it looked like Manafort would be transferred to Rikers while he faces the bevy of fraud charges in New York. He was expected to be held in solitary confinement at the facility, which has been plagued by violence, for his own protection, according to multiple reports. Such treatment is routine for high-profile prisoners, and Manafort’s own lawyer, Todd Blanche, told the New York Times that it was unusual for a prisoner awaiting trial to avoid being held at Rikers.
Blanche also said, however, that his client’s case was also unusual. Reuters reported last week that the attorney was expected to challenge prosecutors’ efforts as being in violation of New York’s double jeopardy laws.
Manafort is currently serving more than seven years in prison after being sentenced in two separate federal cases that stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was convicted of crimes that included conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct justice, and bank and tax fraud.
The New York indictment was released just minutes after Manafort was handed his second federal sentence and is related to some of the same behavior that resulted in his conviction. The indictment also includes allegations of mortgage fraud and falsifying loan documents.
If Manafort is convicted on any of the state crimes, Trump would not be able to pardon him. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the effort was meant, in part, to ensure that Manafort would be held accountable for his crimes even if the president moves to grant him a reprieve.
“No one is beyond the law in New York,” Vance said in March when the charges were announced.
Manafort is expected to be arraigned in New York’s state Supreme Court next week.