Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces “the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison,” a federal judge in Virginia said Tuesday while setting strict conditions of his release pending trial on 18 counts of bank and tax fraud charges.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III offered the ominous assessment in court documents while ordering that Manafort be confined at his Alexandria, Va., home on “a 24-hour-a-day lock-down” except for medial emergencies, court appearances and other pre-approved outings.
The conditions, more restrictive than a parallel set of orders imposed by a D.C. federal judge in a related conspiracy case there, are “necessary because the defendant is a person of great wealth who has the financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large, as well as every incentive to do so,” Ellis wrote in the four-page order.
Last week, Ellis set a July 10 trial date in the case in which Manafort is accused of fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in bank loans and failing to register overseas bank accounts.
Manafort also faces a related September trial in Washington involving his work for a pro-Russia political faction in Ukraine.
The former campaign chairman has pleaded not guilty in both cases brought by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading a wide-ranging investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Under terms of his release in Virginia, Manafort is ordered to wear a second GPS tracking bracelet, in addition to the one he wears as a condition of his pre-trial release in Washington.
Manafort also has pledged $10 million in property and assets to secure his release in both jurisdictions.
“Specifically, given the nature of charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the charges against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison,” Ellis wrote. “In this regard, he poses a substantial risk of flight and the…conditions (of release) are the least restrictive conditions that will reasonably assure defendant’s appearance at trial.”
Source: Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
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