President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reportedly been released from prison to serve the remainder of his more than 7-year sentence in home confinement due to coronavirus concerns. ABC News reports that two spruces familiar with the matter said Manafort was released from FCI Loretto in central Pennsylvania early Wednesday morning.
Manafort, 71, has been serving his sentence for charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in a federal correction institution after he was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced by a federal judge in March 2019. The charges stemmed from his work related to Ukraine between 2006 and 2015. He was slated to be released from prison on Nov. 4, 2024.
The decision to move Manafort — who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 as its convention manager, then served as campaign chairman from May 2016 until he resigned in August 2019 — comes months after his attorney wrote a letter to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in April requesting he immediately be transferred because his age and pre-existing conditions put him at high-risk of contracting COVID-19. Although there are no known cases of the virus, sources told ABC News that the open configuration of the prison, which is an old monastery, means it could be devastated by the virus.
In December, Manafort was hospitalized for a week due to a "cardiac event," sources said at the time. He recovered at a local Pennsylvania hospital under the supervision of correctional officers. His pre-existing conditions include high blood pressure, liver disease and respiratory ailments, his lawyers say, adding that he contracted the flu and bronchitis in February. He apparently takes 11 medications daily.
Last month the Justice Department issued a clarification regarding its policy on releasing certain inmates into home confinement, saying it was "prioritizing for consideration" inmates who have served half or more of their sentences or who have 18 months of less remaining and have served a quarter of their sentences. Manafort has served just under 30 percent of his sentence.
"[Bureau of Prisons] is at this time prioritizing for consideration those inmates who either (1) have served 50 percent or more of their sentences, or (2) have 18 months or less remaining in their sentences and have served 25 percent or more of their sentences," federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing in the Southern District of New York last month. "As BOP processes the inmates eligible for home confinement under these criteria and learns more about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on BOP facilities, it is assessing whether and how to otherwise priority consideration."