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Manafort asks for early release, citing 'high risk of contracting COVID-19' in prison

Manafort asks for early release, citing 'high risk of contracting COVID-19' in prison
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President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE’s former campaign manager, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThere was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder Treasury: Manafort associate passed 'sensitive' campaign data to Russian intelligence Hunter Biden blasts Trump in new book: 'A vile man with a vile mission' MORE, is asking to be released from prison early and serve the remainder of his 7 1/2-year sentence at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, asked the Federal Bureau of Prisons in a letter on Monday to release Manafort, saying his 71-year-old client is at “high risk” of getting COVID-19 due to his age and pre-existing health conditions, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Hill. 

Downing requests that Manafort immediately be transferred to home confinement to serve the remainder of his sentence or for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Downing said it is “only a matter of time” before the novel coronavirus spreads at the federal prison in Loretto, Pa., where Manafort is serving his term on charges of tax evasion, failing to report foreign bank accounts, witness tampering and engaging in unregistered lobbying for foreign interests. 

There are no reported COVID-19 cases at the facility at this time. 

“It is only a matter of time before the infection spreads to staff and inmates at FCI Loretto, at which time it may be too late to prevent high-risk inmates, such as Mr. Manafort, from contracting the potentially deadly virus,” Downing wrote. 

The letter was sent to Michael Carvajal, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and a copy was sent to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

Manafort has been imprisoned since June 2018. He is set to be released in November 2024. 

There are 388 federal inmates and 201 Bureau of Prisons staff who have confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Thirteen federal inmates have died from COVID-19.

--Updated at 9:59 a.m.