Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort released from prison due to coronavirus concerns
(CNN) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from prison Wednesday following a request by his lawyers due to the coronavirus pandemic, his attorney Kevin Downing said.
Downing told CNN that Manafort is going to serve the rest of his term in home confinement after serving about a third of his sentence at a federal prison in Western Pennsylvania.
Manafort has been in jail since June 2018. He is serving a 7.5-year sentence for bank and tax fraud and foreign lobbying-related crimes.
Fear of coronavirus proliferating behind bars has consumed inmates across the country, and the Bureau of Prisons has moved almost 2,500 inmates with coronavirus risk to home confinement as of this week in an effort to stop the spread of the disease within its facilities. The prison where Manafort was living currently has no confirmed cases.
Manafort’s lawyers had asked prison officials last month to consider letting him stay under home confinement either while the pandemic continues or even for the four more years he’s set to stay behind bars.
“It is only a matter of time before the infection spreads to staff and inmates at FCI Loretto, at which time it may be too late to prevent high-risk inmates, such as Mr. Manafort, from contracting the potentially deadly virus,” Downing wrote in a letter to prison officials in mid-April.
The letter indicated that Manafort could be moved to a three-bedroom apartment in Northern Virginia where his wife lives.
His lawyers also outlined in the letter several health issues the 71-year-old faces, such as liver and respiratory issues, and that he takes several medications for cholesterol and high blood pressure. In late 2018 and 2019, Manafort repeatedly noted that he had ongoing health problems in court, and even appeared in a wheelchair for a gout-like issue in his foot.
Late last year, he spent time in the hospital for a heart condition. Manafort then had the flu and bronchitis this February, Downing wrote.
Manafort was convicted by a jury of tax and banking crimes in August 2018, then pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
As part of a plea deal cut in September 2018, Manafort admitted to money laundering, tax fraud and illegal foreign lobbying connected to his years of lucrative work for Ukrainian politicians, as well as defrauding banks to supplement his income with cash through mortgages. He also agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors from then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s office — before lying during those interview sessions.