Paul Manafort Is Now in Federal Custody Alongside El Chapo in Manhattan

A 16-count indictment was unsealed in New York against the ex-Trump campaign chairman in March minutes after his federal sentence was imposed

What to Know

  • Paul Manafort was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in March in two related federal bank fraud, tax and conspiracy cases
  • Minutes later, a 16-count indictment on state mortgage fraud charges was unsealed against Manafort, Trump's ex-campaign manager, in New York
  • The new case appeared designed at least in part to protect against a possible Trump pardon, which would cover federal but not state crimes

Paul Manafort, the former President Trump campaign manager who has been serving a federal prison sentence in Pennsylvania, has been moved to the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, which counts El Chapo among its most notorious inmates, a senior Department of Justice official and other law enforcement sources confirm to News 4 and NBC News. 

Manafort's transfer to the city to face state fraud charges had been expected for a number of weeks, as News 4 reported earlier this month, but where the 70-year-old would be lodged for the duration of his trial had still been up in the air.

There was talk he could have been moved to a special housing area in Rikers for protection -- or Bellevue, to help with any potential medical issues he may be managing, or other facilities. Ultimately, his attorneys contacted the federal Bureau of Prisons and requested that he stay in federal as opposed to state custody because of concerns "related to his health and personal safety," a senior Department of Justice official said in a statement early Tuesday.

New York prosecutors didn't object to the proposal, which also pledged to make Manafort available to the state when necessary. According to the statement from the Department of Justice official, Manafort will remain in federal custody in New York "during the pendency of his state proceeding." It's not clear if he will stay at MCC for the entire duration of the state trial, but the federal official said "this arrangement will not have any impact on his state proceedings."

The state fraud charges were unsealed in a 16-count indictment minutes after Manafort was sentenced in March to seven and a half years in prison following convictions in two related federal bank fraud, tax and conspiracy cases. The new case appeared designed at least in part to protect against a possible pardon from Trump, since presidential pardons apply to federal but not state crimes. 

Previously, when asked about the prospect of Manafort being moved to the city, Mayor de Blasio said he would be treated "like any other inmate, and would have the same rights and responsibilities." The mayor also noted there are "safety questions that have to be attended to."

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