Politics

Ex-Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort released as coronavirus spreads in prisons

Key Points
  • Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from federal prison to serve the remainder of his 7½-year sentence in home confinement amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus, NBC News reported.
  • Manafort was released from a federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, early Wednesday morning, a source familiar with the case told NBC.
  • Manafort, 71, had been sentenced in 2019 to charges brought as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian election meddling, potential Kremlin coordination with the Trump campaign and possible obstruction of justice by Trump himself.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort exits the courtroom after his arraignment in New York Supreme Court in New York, June 27, 2019.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from federal prison to serve the remainder of his 7½-year sentence in home confinement amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus, NBC News reported Wednesday.

Manafort was released from a federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, early Wednesday morning, a source familiar with the case told NBC.

Manafort, 71, had been sentenced in 2019 to charges brought as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian election meddling, potential Kremlin coordination with the Trump campaign and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump himself.

Lawyers for Manafort did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment. The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately confirm that Manafort had been released from FCI Loretto.

Manafort was slated to be released from prison in November 2024, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

But the coronavirus pandemic has swept through America's prisons, infecting hundreds of inmates and guards and prompting many inmates to ask for early release out of concern for their safety.

Other high-profile inmates have asked to be released to home confinement. Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, 53, had reportedly been told he would be released from a federal prison camp in upstate New York. But that promise to Cohen was rescinded in early May, people familiar with the situation told CNBC.

The reversal came shortly after a Trump Organization lawyer issued Cohen, a former Trump ally turned critic, a warning not to publish a reported "tell-all" book ahead of the 2020 election. The White House said that it had "absolutely not" interfered in the decision to delay Cohen's planned early release.

Lanny Davis, a spokesman and lawyer for Cohen, said in a tweet that he hoped Cohen would receive the treatment as Manafort.

 

More than a dozen inmates and staff at Cohen's prison in Otisville, New York, have previously tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Bureau of Prisons. At the time this article was published, only one active case at the Otisville facility was listed on the BOP website.

In contrast, the BOP says there are no known cases of coronavirus at FCI Loretto, where Manafort was serving his sentence.

Manafort was chairman of Trump's winning presidential campaign for several months in 2016. He resigned amid reported concerns within the campaign about his connections and past lobbying work for pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort was later charged as part of Mueller's probe with a slew of financial crimes, including bank fraud and filing false income tax returns. He was convicted on eight of the 14 criminal counts against him in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and later pleaded guilty to additional charges in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

After his sentencing in those cases, Manafort was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. with state criminal charges related to real estate loans Manafort received or applied for in New York.

Manafort has claimed to suffer from serious health problems throughout his prosecution. He was hospitalized in December after experiencing a medical issue in the federal prison in Pennsylvania. That month, a judge dismissed the state charges against Manafort on double jeopardy grounds.

ABC News first reported Manafort's release earlier Wednesday morning.

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