Paul Manafort Released to Home Confinement Over Virus Fears

May 14, 2020by Greg Farrell and David Voreacos, Bloomberg News (TNS)
Paul Manafort is escorted to his arraignment on a variety of financial crimes in State Supreme Court in New York on June 27, 2019. Manafort has been released to home confinement over virus fears. (Alec Tabak/New York Daily News/TNS)

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump who was convicted of financial crimes and illegal lobbying, was released from prison to home confinement, according to his lawyer, Kevin Downing.

Manafort, 71, was released from a low-security prison in Loretto, Pa., after requesting that the Bureau of Prisons move him to his home in northern Virginia for the remainder of his 7 1/2 –year sentence, or at least for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manafort was released Wednesday at 6:30 am to his wife and another family member, Downing said.

“He’s going home,” Downing said. “He’s doing OK. He didn’t get the virus, so that’s good.”

Manafort’s relocation came after the Justice Department signaled it would send certain inmates in federal penitentiaries, including non-violent white collar criminals, to serve time from home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Citing the pandemic in an April 3 memo, Attorney General William Barr said a broader swath of inmates should be considered for home confinement, urging prison officials prioritize vulnerable inmates.

Manafort fits that definition, according to his legal team. He takes 11 medications daily and suffers from high blood pressure, liver disease and respiratory ailments, according to an April 13 letter that Downing sent to the Bureau of Prisons director and the warden at FCI Loretto. Manafort was hospitalized for several days in December due to a heart condition and contracted bronchitis and influenza in February.

He began a quarantine at the prison on March 30, making him eligible for an immediate transfer, Downing wrote. “It is critical that the BOP immediately review, process, and transfer Mr. Manafort to home confinement because he is at ‘high-risk’ for severe illness from COVID-19,” the attorney wrote.

Manafort was the highest-profile figure to have been charged and convicted of charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

Before being tapped by the Trump campaign in early 2016, Manafort had spent more than a decade doing lucrative political consulting work for Ukrainian politicians who were aligned with the Kremlin. Manafort quit the campaign that August, after reports that he had accepted millions in cash payments from Ukraine’s former ruling party.

Manafort had already drawn the interest of federal prosecutors during 2016, but after Mueller was appointed in 2017, he became one of the special counsel’s prime targets.

Manafort was convicted by jurors in 2018 of tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to file a foreign bank account after prosecutors said he hid $55 million in offshore accounts and failed to pay $6 million in taxes. He avoided a second trial in Washington D.C. by pleading guilty to conspiracy counts involving witness tampering, money laundering and tax evasion.

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©2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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