by9 WorldTribune Staff, June 5, 2019
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is currently serving a 7.5 year prison sentence in a Pennsylvania federal prison.
Earlier this year, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained an indictment against Manafort on charges of mortgage fraud and a state judge has now ordered Manafort to be moved as early as June 6 to Rikers Island, where he would be held in solitary confinement, according to a report by Fox News.
Manafort will receive no special treatment, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on June 4.
“He is going to be treated, as much as humanly possible, like any other inmate, and would have the same rights and responsibilities,” de Blasio said. “Obviously there are safety questions that have to be attended to.”
President Donald Trump has the ability to issue pardons for federal crimes, but several reports note that this power does not extend to state infractions.
“No one is beyond the law in New York,” Vance said in a March statement.
Politico noted that Rikers Island currently is used mainly to house pre-trial detainees. “However, the outdated facility has become a hive of violence, and its isolated location near LaGuardia Airport makes it difficult to transfer inmates to county courthouses around the city, often delaying trial times,” Politico said.
The city is currently planning to close the facility by 2026 and replace it with modern jails in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.
Longtime attorney and law professor Alan Dershowtiz said moving Manafort to Rikers “seems abusive and possibly illegal.”
“I know Rikers well having spent time there visiting numerous defendants accused of murder and other violent crimes. It is a terrible place that no one should ever be sent to,” Dershowitz wrote in a June 4 op-ed for Fox News.
“It should be shut down. It is so bad that defendants often plead guilty, even if they have defensible cases, simply to move to a safer and better prison.”
Dershowitz continued: “Whatever the reason for the transfer, it seems like the selective application of the law for partisan purposes. The tactic of squeezing a potential witness by making his imprisonment unbearably harsh is generally reserved for mafioso, terrorists and other violent criminals who may have evidence against their bosses.
“It certainly appears as if New York is punishing Manafort for his association with Trump.”