Later this week former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will be transferred from a minimum-security facility in Pennsylvania to the notorious maximum-security hell-hole known as Riker’s Island located in New York City.
Worst yet Manafort will spend his nearly 7-years of prison captivity in solitary confinement, separated from the prison population for “his own protection.”
Which begs the question… why incarcerate a 70-year old individual who’s never served a day in prison (until now) to a maximum-security facility reserved for murderers and other violent offenders where he is deprived of interacting with fellow inmates?
Especially one charged with an assortment of white-collar crimes, including residential mortgage fraud, falsifying business records, tax evasion, and other none violent crimes.
Legal scholar Professor Alan Dershowitz has a theory of what he believes is actually taking place concerning Manafort’s bizarre move stating, “I know Rikers well having spent time there visiting numerous defendants accused of murder and other violent crimes. It is a terrible place that no one should ever be sent to. It should be shut down. It is so bad that defendants often plead guilty, even if they have defensible cases, simply to move to a safer and better prison.”
Adding, “Why then was Manafort moved there? He has already been indicted on multiple state charges for which he cannot, if convicted, be pardoned by President Trump. His state trial is not imminent. He should be allowed to await that trial in the federal facility to which he was sentenced. He could then be transferred to New York on the eve of his state trial.”
The answer as to why Manafort is suddenly being moved to Riker’s Island is no doubt a political move, which begins and ends with Donald Trump and anyone connected to him. Ironically, New York law enforcement professionals acknowledge that transferring Manafort presumably because of his high profile connections to the President puts him at a higher risk within an environment like Rikers.
Whatever the reason for the transfer, it seems like the selective application of the law for partisan purposes. The tactic of squeezing a potential witness by making his imprisonment unbearably harsh is generally reserved for mafioso, terrorists and other violent criminals who may have evidence against their bosses, which is perhaps what disgruntled and deranged progressive New York prosecutors are hoping for.
New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance (a Democrat) requested the transfer to a New York State judge (also a Democrat), who intern ordered the minimum-security facility in Pennsylvania to relinquish Manafort into their custody.
For those not familiar with this medieval hell-hole constructed in 1932 on a 400 acre island just behind LaGuardia Airport. The infamous prison has housed some of the most violent criminals of the 20th century, including David Berkowitz and Mark David Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon.
According to the New York Times, Rikers accounts for 9 of 13 facilities in New York City’s jail system, holding at any given time over 10,000 inmates daily, with roughly another 80,000 cycling through the system annually.
Professor Dershowitz warns that “weaponization” of the criminal process for partisan advantage sets a dangerous course.
Adding, “All civil libertarians, regardless of party affiliation, should be outraged at this abuse. It sets a dangerous precedent that could be used by overzealous prosecutors against any American.”
Moreover putting Manafort’s life in jeopardy for partisan politics by vindictive Democrats is without a doubt the most egregious action to date. Hopefully, Manafort’s lawyers may be able to pull out some last minute legal “hocus-pocus,” by keeping him in the minimum-security facility in Pennsylvania, until and if New York decides to move forward.