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Paul Manafort Released From Prison To Home Confinement Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Seth Wenig AP
Paul Manafort, here arriving last year for a New York court session, argued that his health and age made him susceptible to contracting the coronavirus in prison.

Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort was released from federal prison to home confinement early Wednesday morning due to concerns about coronavirus exposure, his attorney Todd Blanche tells NPR.

Manafort, who was once Donald Trump's presidential campaign chairman, is 71 years old and is serving a 7-year prison sentence.


He had been serving his time in a low-security prison in Pennsylvania after he was convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy. The charges were brought as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort had sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons asking to be released to home confinement. He argued that his health and age made him susceptible to contracting the deadly virus, which can spread quickly in places such as prisons, where social distancing is difficult to achieve.

Once a globe-trotting lobbyist, Manafort has suffered a series of health challenges recently, including a hospitalization in December due to what his lawyer described as a "cardiac event."

He was sentenced to prison time by two federal courts. In 2018, a jury in Virginia found him guilty on eight of 18 counts in his tax and bank fraud trial, related to work Manafort did in Ukraine.

He later pleaded guilty to two additional felony counts in Washington, D.C.


Soon after Manafort's release to home confinement, a legal adviser to Michael Cohen, another former member of the president's inner circle, bemoaned that Cohen remained in prison.

Lanny Davis, tweeted Wednesday, that while he's happy for Manafort, Cohen was expected home early this month, but remains incarcerated. "He was expected home on May 1 and then unexplained delay. Why not now? #freeMichael," Davis said.

Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyers and fixer, who once said he "would take a bullet for the president," is serving a three-year federal prison term following guilty pleas to a number of financial and political crimes.

In a statement dated May 2, Davis said Cohen "remains in effect in solitary confinement, under quarantine, rather than under home confinement as he was led to believe would occur" on May 1.

Since late March, the Bureau of Prisons has been reviewing which inmates met criteria suitable for home confinement as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus, after directives from Attorney General William Barr.

As of Wednesday afternoon, BOP said it has placed an additional 2,471 inmates have been placed on home confinement, an increase of 87.5%.

According to the BOP, Cohen remains at the medium-security prison in Otisville, N.Y., with a scheduled release date in November 2021.

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