Lost in Wednesday’s news about the new court filing by Robert Mueller’s special counsel against Paul Manafort, which produced evidence of a recorded phone call between the former Trump campaign manager and his legal team about how easy he’d had it so far in jail, was a piece of information that I’m sure any judge would want to consider while ultimately deciding Manafort’s case.
After Mueller handed down another indictment for witness tampering at the beginning of June, many were astounded at just how committed Manafort was to constantly breaking the law, even while under tremendous legal scrutiny. Imagine the enormous amount of brazen apathy toward law enforcement one has to have to commit more crimes for the same purpose, WHILE you’re in prison.
Now it looks like Manafort was doing more of the same.
As you might expect, prisoners at most jails — the one in Northern Neck, Virginia being no exception — do not get a lot of freedoms or comforts that you and I would actually take for granted. For example, most jail cells have a toilet just sitting on one wall, in plain view of anyone who happens to look at, in, or even near the cell, leaving no privacy for the inmate. And if you can’t even, uh, relieve yourself in private in jail, why on earth would they let you send private emails?
The answer is that they wouldn’t, and the Northern Neck Regional Jail has a rule that even prisoners who are allowed to work on computers while incarcerated are not allowed to privately communicate via email.
It looks like Manafort found a way around that rule, and he used his legal team to achieve it.
A major factor in the breaking news yesterday about Manafort’s boast that he was being “treated like a VIP” was the fact that he was using a laptop to review legal discoveries pertaining to his case. But unbeknownst to his jailers, the laptop that his lawyers were bringing to the jail for him to work on was set up in such a way that he could pretend to be doing something else while actually composing emails on the portable laptop, which would then connect to the internet after his lawyers left the building and send and receive everything stored in memory.
From the documents filed by special counsel:
Now THAT is a sincere commitment to breaking the law. Maybe he was treated “like a VIP” there out of sheer respect for his mafioso-like attitude toward what could be one of the most important legal cases in American history.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images