Paul Manafort, who is under 23-hour-per-day lockdown in solitary in a Virginia jail, told a judge on Friday that he doesn’t want to make a two-hour trek for any court appearances before his trial starts July 25.
Manafort, who served for four months as President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, is being held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, about 80 miles south of Alexandria, Virginia.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia, must now decide whether to grant his request to remain behind bars until his trial.
Manafort faces bank fraud and tax-related charges. Separately, he’s accused of money laundering and illegal lobbying in another case in Washington. He denies wrongdoing in both.
Manafort had been confined to his home on a $10 million bond. Last month, the judge in the Washington case ordered him locked up for violating the terms of his release by allegedly tampering with a witness. Manafort is appealing the order locking him up.
Manafort on Friday also filed papers telling Ellis he won’t get a fair trial in Alexandria, a Washington DC suburb, because of the pretrial publicity and asked that his case be moved to Roanoke, 244 miles to the south.
"It is difficult to conceive of a matter that has received media attention of the same magnitude as the prosecution of Mr. Manafort," the attorneys said, citing their client’s ties to Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Spokesmen for Mueller didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on the change-of-venue request.
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