Judge Grants Manafort Request to Skip Hearing Due to Commute

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – A federal judge Tuesday granted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s request to skip a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Friday due to the long commute from a prison in Virginia.

In a two-page filing Monday night, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing said, “Mr. Manafort, having been advised of his right to be present at all stages of the proceedings, agrees that his interests shall be represented at the hearing by the presence of his attorneys.”

Manafort was recently transferred to the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia after a federal judge in Washington, D.C. revoked his bond and ordered him to detention for his alleged tampering with a potential witness for his upcoming trial.

“Attending the hearings would mean spending at least two hours in transit in each direction,” Downing notes.

According to Downing, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has taken “no position” on the matter and deferred to the presiding U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

On Tuesday afternoon Ellis granted the request without comment.

On Friday in Virginia, defense attorneys will appear before Judge Ellis as he weighs their request to toss Mueller’s indictment of Manafort for lack of relevance.

Judge Ellis will also consider their request to suppress evidence found in Manafort’s storage unit and Virginia residence as well as a motion claiming excessive pre-trial publicity spoiled his chances at a fair hearing.

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