Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, runs a significant risk of spending the rest of his life in prison and the evidence against him by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office seems strong, a federal judge declared in an order made public on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and is assigned to a newly filed indictment against Manafort dealing with bank fraud and tax evasion, said the veteran lobbyist and political consultant posed “a substantial risk of flight” because of his assets and the gravity of his legal predicament.
“The defendant is a person of great wealth who has the financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large, as well as every incentive to do so,” Ellis wrote in an order setting the terms of what the judge called “home incarceration” for Manafort, 68, who lives in Alexandria but also has homes in Florida and on Long Island.
“Given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison,” wrote Ellis, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan.
The order, dated Friday, puts Manafort in a “24-hour-a-day lockdown” at his Alexandria condo, except for medical appointments or emergencies, court appearances and meeting with his defense attorneys. Ellis did not require Manafort to post any assets, but did order that he pay $10 million if he fails to appear in court.
Manafort’s conditions of release are now subject to approval by two judges, with the result that the once high-flying international consultant is now wearing two bracelets to allow his movements to be tracked by GPS.
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