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Manafort to remain in federal custody, won’t go to Rikers

WASHINGTON — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been transferred to a correctional facility in New York but will remain in federal custody while he faces state fraud charges, a Justice Department official said Tuesday.

Manafort, who is serving a federal prison sentence, is waiting to be arraigned after prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed a 16-count indictment that accuses him of giving false information on mortgage loan applications. He was expected to be held at New York City’s notorious jail complex, Rikers Island, until the state case is resolved.

But Manafort’s lawyers reached out to the federal Bureau of Prisons and raised concerns that his health and safety could be threatened if he was transferred to Rikers Island, the Justice Department official said. They instead proposed that Manafort continue to be held in federal custody and made available to state officials when needed, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Rikers Island has been plagued by complaints of violence for years and city officials have come under scrutiny for the use of solitary confinement and the mistreatment of mentally ill inmates. Manafort likely would’ve been held in a facility on the island that houses inmates with high-profile cases who require protective custody.

The Justice Department contacted Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. about the proposal from Manafort’s lawyers. The state prosecutors didn’t object to the proposal and the Justice Department “determined to err on the side of the caution” by keeping Manafort in federal custody while the state case plays out, the official said.

Manafort was sentenced in March to serve more than seven years in prison on federal charges in cases brought in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The charges related to Manafort’s years of Ukrainian political consulting work, including allegations he concealed his foreign government work from the United States and failed to pay taxes on it. The state charges in New York were announced just minutes after Manafort’s sentencing in Washington.

Manafort’s attorney, Todd Blanche, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment.

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Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak in New York contributed to this report.

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