Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was released from prison on Wednesday to serve his sentence under home confinement because of coronavirus fears, one of his lawyers confirmed, as reported by ABC news.
Manafort has been imprisoned since June 2018 for bank and tax fraud and foreign lobbying-related crimes.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 as the campaign's convention manager. He served as Trump's campaign chairman from May 2016 until he resigned in August 2019.
Manafort, 71 serving a 7.5-year sentence was released to his home in Alexandria, Virginia, from the minimum-security Loretto Federal Correctional Institute in central Pennsylvania. His term was set to end in November 2024.
The decision to move Manafort to home confinement comes after his attorneys wrote a letter to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) last month requesting that he be immediately transferred to home confinement because he is at high risk of contracting COVID-19 because of his age and pre-existing conditions. His release was confirmed on Wednesday by attorney Todd Blanche.
“Mr Manafort is 71 years old and suffers from several preexisting health conditions, including high blood pressure, liver disease, and respiratory ailments,” his lawyers wrote.
In December, Manafort was hospitalized for several days due to what sources described as a “cardiac event.”He recovered at a local Pennsylvania hospital under the supervision of correctional officers.
In February he contracted influenza and bronchitis. Given that history, the lawyers said that if he became infected with Covid-19, “Mr Manafort is at a significantly higher risk for serious illness or death.”
Attorney General William P. Barr in late March directed the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to release to home confinement more vulnerable prisoners not considered a danger to the community.
The bureau has said they are “prioritizing for consideration” inmates who had served more than half their sentences or had 18 months or less remaining; Manafort is not in either category.
As part of the Mueller investigation, Manafort was convicted by a jury of tax and banking crimes in August 2018, then pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.