Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being transferred to New York City’s Rikers Island and will be put in solitary confinement.
Fox News Reported that a “source close to Manafort” told the outlet the transfer was ordered by a New York State Judge at the request of New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. Manafort is currently being held in a minimum security facility in Pennsylvania.
He’s being sent to Rikers, a dangerous prison, and put into solitary confinement “for his protection,” the source told Fox.
As Fox noted, Rikers Island has held some of New York’s most violent criminals, including ‘Son of Sam’ David Berkowitz and John Lennon’s murderer Mark David Chapman.
This is where Manafort is being transferred after being sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud and failing to file under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a little-known law that requires lobbyists to report that they are working on behalf of a foreign government. In Manafort’s case, Ukraine. As to the fraud, Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 counts that included charges of hiding income the IRS and securing millions in fraudulent bank loans. He was ultimately found guilty.
Since his sentencing, Manafort has been charged by a New York grand jury with “16 counts including residential mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and other charges,” Fox reported.
Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz called the transfer “abusive and possibly illegal.”
Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed for Fox that criminals in federal prisons aren’t transferred to a state prison “until the eve of their state trials,” suggesting Manafort is being “treated differently and more harshly because of his past connections to President Trump.” As Fox noted, Trump cannot pardon Manafort for state crimes.
“Whatever the reason for the transfer, it seems like the selective application of the law for partisan purposes,” Dershowitz wrote. “The tactic of squeezing a potential witness by making his imprisonment unbearably harsh is generally reserved for mafioso, terrorists and other violent criminals who may have evidence against their bosses.”
Dershowitz theorized that Manafort may be transferred early in the hopes of getting him to turn on President Donald Trump and accuse him of state crimes.
“It is entirely inappropriate in the political context. It is yet another example of the weaponization of the criminal process for partisan advantage,” Dershowitz concluded. “All civil libertarians, regardless of party affiliation, should be outraged at this abuse. It sets a dangerous precedent that could be used by overzealous prosecutors against any American.”
The New York Times reported that high-profile inmates, such as Manafort, “are generally held in protective custody on Rikers Island, a network of nine jails with a total of 7,500 inmates, including pretrial detainees and convicts serving sentences of a year or less.”
A law-enforcement official told the Times that Manafort would likely be held “in a former prison hospital on the island.” As the Times noted, that “is where most high-profile detainees are held, including police officers, those accused of killing police officers, politicians and celebrities.”