In the weeks since a judge sent Paul Manafort to jail for conspiring with a Russian spy to tamper with witnesses, Manafort and his lawyers have lost one motion after another. First a judge ruled that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has the authority to charge Manafort. Then came the ruling that the evidence in Manafort’s storage locker could be used against him. Now the judge in Manafort’s other upcoming trial has also ruled that the storage locker evidence is admissible. So Manafort decided to try to get out of jail entirely.
Manafort made the argument that becuase his jail is located a couple hours away from his attorney’s, it’s become difficult for them to work together on his defense. Manafort was clearly hoping that the judge would somehow decide to let him out on bail again. Instead, the judge simply offered to move Manafort to a jail that’s closer to his attorneys.
This was not at all what Paul Manafort wanted and, perhaps fearing that the conditions would be harsher in his new jail, he then decided that he wants to remain in his current jail. In so doing, Manafort admitted by default that his original claim of being too far away from his lawyers was nonsense. This is a good way to alienate the judge when it comes to other upcoming rulings ahead of the trial, particularly rulings that would require the judge to take Manafort at his word.
So not only is Paul Manafort still in jail, he’s exhausted every realistic avenue for trying to avoid trial, and now he’s angered the judge by trying to abuse the system. Manafort is out of options. He can go to trial and lose and spend every day of the rest of his life behind bars, or he can cut a plea deal against Donald Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report