Paul Manafort, who served as the campaign chairman for President Donald Trump in 2016, is asking for early release from federal prison and requesting that he be allowed to serve the remainder of his 7 1/2 year sentence from the comfort of his home, citing fears that he will contract COVID-19 if he remains incarcerated.
According to The Hill:
“Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, asked the Federal Bureau of Prisons in a letter on Monday to release Manafort, saying his 71-year-old client is at ‘high risk’ of getting COVID-19 due to his age and pre-existing health conditions.”
Downing also claims in the letter that it is “only a matter of time” before coronavirus begins to spread at the federal prison on Loretta, Pennsylvania, where Manafort is incarcerated after being found guilty on charges ranging from tax evasion to witness tampering. At the moment there are no inmates at the prison where Manafort is housed have contracted the virus:
“It is only a matter of time before the infection spreads to staff and inmates at FCI Loretto, at which time it may be too late to prevent high-risk inmates, such as Mr. Manafort, from contracting the potentially deadly virus.”
Downing’s letter goes on to elaborate on Manafort’s medical issues:
“Mr. Manafort is 71 years old and suffers from several preexisting health conditions, including high blood pressure, liver disease, and respiratory ailments. As the BOP is aware, in December 2019, Mr. Manafort was hospitalized for several days due to a heart condition. More recently, in February 2020, he contracted influenza and bronchitis. Mr. Manafort currently takes 11 prescription medications daily to treat his various health conditions, 8 of which are relevant to the requested relief.”
Manafort has been incarcerated since June of 2018 and is not set for release until 2024.
Nationally, 388 federal inmates and 201 Bureau of Prisons staff have been confirmed to have contracted coronavirus. 13 inmates have died as a result of contracting the virus.
President Trump has hinted that he might pardon Manafort, but it seems unlikely he will do so in an election year, especially since doing so would again raise the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
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