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Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, has been incarcerated since June 15 in a regional jail in rural Virginia about two hours south of Washington.

In a recent phone call, they say, he explained in vague terms why he wanted to go to trial first in District of Columbia federal court, where he faces related charges in a trial set for September.

The filing also claims Manafort is not confined to his cell and has access to a separate workspace in the jail between 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The developments came as Manafort gets closer to two trials where he will defend himself against a number of charges ranging from bank fraud to failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.

Prosecutors working for the special counsel in the Russian Federation inquiry, Robert Mueller, suggested to Ellis this week that Manafort was trying to delay the Virginia case so that he would face the charges in Washington first. "It is surprising and confusing when the counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem", Ellis wrote Wednesday, adding, "Defense counsel has not identified any general or specific threat to defendant's safety at the Alexandria Detention Center".

The court document claims Manafort has "unique privileges" at the Warsaw jail.

Prosecutors also cited taped phone calls from prison in which Manafort remarked that he was being treated like a "VIP" and had access to "all my files like I would at home". Contrary to Manafort's assertions, the prosecutors argued that his jail, while located two hours from Washington, had provided him with ample access to his lawyers and had not hindered his preparation for trial.

Manafort's lawyers responded Wednesday saying Mueller's description of his jail conditions, while generally accurate, were a "cavalier dismissal of the challenges of preparing for back-to-back complex white collar criminal trials" while locked up. Moreover, he wrote, in the Alexandria jail, Manafort "will actually avoid the discomfort of long commutes during trial days".

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Also on Wednesday, Mueller's office filed a motion in the Washington case notifying the court of its intent to present evidence at trial about a Justice Department inspection into Manafort's lobbying activities in the 1980's.

The jail houses about 400 inmates, and at least 150 beds are reserved for federal prisoners like Manafort.

As for listening in on Manafort's phone calls, Nanavati wrote: "Armed with personal conversations between Mr. Manafort and his family, the special counsel selects snippets to support its version of events. When the team takes the laptop from the jail, it re-connects to the Internet and Manafort's emails are transmitted", prosecutors said.

"Manafort has revealed on the monitored phone calls that in order to exchange emails, he reads and composes emails on a second laptop that is shuttled in and out of the facility by his team", the USA said.

"Think about how it'll play elsewhere", Manafort said, according to the court filing. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Manafort is scheduled to stand trial on financial crimes starting July 25.

But Manafort's legal team didn't complain until the last minute, the US said. But the judges overseeing both cases against Manafort recently struck down those arguments.


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