Manafort, in Change of Heart, Wants to Forego Jail Change

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Concerned that a change in accomodations would impair their client’s ability to prepare for trial, attorneys for Paul Manafort asked a federal judge to reverse his decision to move the former Trump campaign chairman to a jail closer to the trial’s current venue.

On Tuesday morning, U.S. District Judge T.S Ellis III directed that Manafort be relocated from Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., after a judge revoked his house arrest following witness tampering allegations from prosecutors.

Manafort has been held at the facility in Warsaw, Va. since last month.

But by Tuesday evening, Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing had a change of heart, writing to Judge Ellis that “in light of [Paul Manafort’s] continuing detention and after further reflection, issues of distance and inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety and more importantly, the challenges he will face in adjusting to a new place of confinement and the changing circumstances of detention two weeks before trial.”

The about face from Downing also comes fresh on the heels of yet another order by Ellis made on Tuesday.

Ellis gave special counsel Robert Mueller’s team until Friday evening to respond to Manafort’s request to move his trial from Alexandria to Roanoke.

Manafort’s lawyers cited extensive pretrial publicity in asking last week for the trial to be moved out of the Washington, D.C. region.

Jason Maloni, Manafort’s spokesman, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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