- Paul Manafort, the former chief of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, is reportedly set to be sent from federal prison to New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail as a local prosecutor pursues state charges against the convicted felon.
- The 70-year-old Manafort, who is serving a federal prison sentence of seven-and-a-half years, faces pending charges of mortgage fraud and other felonies in New York State. Those charges have been lodged by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
- The Rikers jail complex is infamous in New York for housing violent felons and having chronic problems with gangs.
Paul Manafort, the former chief of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, is set to be sent from federal prison to New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail.
The 70-year-old Manafort, now serving a federal prison sentence of seven-and-a-half years in connection with charges lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller, faces pending felony charges of mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records in New York state.
Those charges contained in an indictment were unveiled by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in March, just minutes after Manafort was sentenced for the second time on federal charges.
A spokesman for Vance did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Fox News first reported Monday night that Manafort, now in the minimum security federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, would be sent to Rikers Island, located between the boroughs of the Bronx and Queens.
“I’m sad to report that it’s true,” Manafort’s defense lawyer Jay Nanavati told CNBC on Tuesday.
Nanavati said he believes that Manafort will be held in solitary confinement on Rikers.
The transfer is expected to happen by Thursday, according to Fox.
However, a spokesman for the New York Court system told CNBC there is no date currently scheduled for Manafort to be arraigned on the state charges.
The New York Times reported that Manafort is likely to be arraigned on the state charges later in June and held pending his trial in that case on Rikers.
But a person familiar with the case told NBC New that while Manafort could be transferred New York in June no date or decision has been reached yet.
The Rikers jail complex is infamous in New York for housing violent felons facing state charges, and having chronic problems with gangs, as well as numerous incidents of guards beating inmates, including adolescent detainees.
“It’s a cesspool and it needs to be fixed,” said Duncan Levin, a criminal defense lawyer who previously was both a federal prosecutor and a top prosecutor in Vance’s office. “It’s not befitting a civilized nation,” Levin said. “It doesn’t adequately provide for either the safety for the prisoners or the guards.”
Levin also said that Manafort should not be held in solitary confinement, which he called “an inhumane place for anybody to be.”
“It may very well be for his safety, but if so it only goes to show that Rikers is in need of a security upgrade.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who last year first announced plans to shutter Rikers by 2026, in April said the facility would close a year before that.
Manafort was convicted at his first federal trial in Virginia last year of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to file a foreign bank account.
He later pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to two counts of conspiracy.
Levin said that he expects Manafort would continue being held in Rikers for the duration of his state charges because keeping him there makes it more efficient for officials to transport him to and from court hearings for the case.
“These are very serious state charges,” Levin noted. And being kept on Rikers “is “certainly going to make his stay a lot more unpleasant.”
Levin said he believed that some of the charges facing Manafort could end up being dismissed on grounds of double jeopardy because the alleged conduct appears to have been the subject of charges that Manafort already has faced in federal court.
But, he added, “The entire case does not fall apart on double jeopardy grounds.”
“He’s going to have problems in New York.”