Paul Manafort: Jailed Trump associate asks for early release from prison over coronavirus fears

Mr Manafort's attorney argues his client is in high risk category because of his age and his pre-existing health conditions

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 14 April 2020 15:32
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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, is asking to be released from prison over fears he could contract coronavirus.

Mr Manafort wants to serve the remainder of his seven and a half year sentence at home, or stay there for the duration of the pandemic.

In a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Kevin Downing, his attorney, argues that his client falls into a high risk category due to both his age and his pre-existing health conditions, for which he takes daily medication.

Mr Downing says that it is only a matter of time before the coronavirus begins to spread among the inmates and corrections officers at the federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, where Mr is incarcerated.

The letter was addressed to Michael Carvajal, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A copy was sent to the Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. A copy was obtained by Politico.

Mr Manafort was imprisoned in June 2018 to serve time for charges of tax evasion, failing to report foreign bank accounts, witness tampering, and engaging in unregistered lobbying for foreign interests.

He is due to be released in November 2024.

According to data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 40 facilities and nine residential centres have confirmed cases of Covid-19. A total of 388 inmates and 201 staff have tested positive, and 13 inmates have died.

Both 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli and R Kelly have also asked to be released from prison due to the coronavirus. Mr Shkreli argues that he might be useful in developing a drug to help fight the virus.

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