Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now officially behind bars. It took an extra eight hours after the judge revoked his bail and sentenced him to jail through the end of his trial, but he’s now indeed been locked up. The details are now emerging of where he’s serving his time and why that particular location was chosen – and it may help shed some light on how future Trump-Russia imprisonments are going to play out.
Marshals had to hold Manafort at the courthouse for an extra third of a day while they determined how to properly incarcerate him. According to CNN, they were concerned about how to “keep him protected from other inmates” and they ultimately determined that putting him in jail in Washington DC would have been “a risk to his safety.” So instead they hauled him about an hour and a half south to the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Virginia. This tells us a few things.
First, it tells us something that we already more or less knew: Paul Manafort is such a high profile prisoner that he can’t simply be kept in general population. Second, it tells us that – at least at present – there are no jails in DC that can properly house someone who fits that description. So if upcoming arrestees like Michael Cohen and Roger Stone also end up being held in jail ahead of their trials, it sounds like they’ll end up getting shipped off to jails in rural locations outside DC as well.
Second, Northern Neck Regional is the same jail where former NFL quarterback Michael Vick served part of his sentence. Here’s how ESPN described Vick’s experience at the facility: his cell was as “small as a dorm room, with a toilet, shower and sink” and “he could talk to guests only through glass.” In other words, this place is not exactly Club Fed. The apparently harsh conditions could help motivate Paul Manafort to cut a plea deal against Donald Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report