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Paul Manafort now asks judge not to transfer him to jail closer to Washington

The new request comes after Trump's former campaign chief had complained about his lockup.
Image: Manafort arrives for arraignment on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington
Paul Manafort arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington on June 15, 2018.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

Lawyers for former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort are now asking that he not be moved from a rural Virginia jail, the same day that a judge granted his request to be moved, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The filing Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia argues that “issues of distance and inconvenience must yield to concerns about his safety,” and cites challenges Manafort would face in adjusting to a new place of detention two weeks before his trial.

Tuesday’s motion by Manafort’s attorneys comes on the same day that a judge ordered Manafort to be transferred to a detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, "to ensure that defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense."

Manafort had complained in recent court filings that that restrictions at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw and its distance from the courthouse made it hard for him to prepare for trial.

In Tuesday’s motion, Manafort’s attorneys said that "Mr. Manafort respectfully asks the Court to permit him to remain in his current place of detention."

Manafort’s bail was revoked by a federal judge in Washington amid allegations of witness tampering. On Tuesday, a different federal judge ordered him transferred to a detention center in Alexandria.

Manafort is awaiting separate trials in two jurisdictions — Washington and Alexandria — on a raft of fraud, money laundering and other charges stemming from his lucrative lobbying work in Ukraine. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

Manafort was put on house arrest after his indictment. But last month, prosecutors alleged that he and a Russian associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, used encrypted messages to reach out to witnesses in one of the cases.

"I cannot turn a blind eye to this," Judge Amy Berman Jackson told him before revoking his bail.

U.S. marshals brought him to Northern Neck in Warsaw, about 100 miles from Washington, where he was put in a self-contained so-called VIP unit that once housed former NFL star Michael Vick. His lawyers said it amounted to solitary confinement and inhibited his ability to meet with them.