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Manafort released to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns

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President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was released from prison on Wednesday to serve the rest of his sentence at home because of worries about the coronavirus pandemic, his lawyer told CBS News. 

Kevin Downing told the network that his client was picked up by two family members, including Manafort’s wife, at the low-security LCI Loretto facility in central Pennsylvania.

Manafort was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for crimes uncovered during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. He was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy, sentenced in 2019 and originally expected to be released in 2024.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately return a request for comment.

Manafort in mid-April asked to be released from prison early because of the pandemic. Downing said in a letter at the time that Manafort, 71, was at “high risk” of contracting coronavirus due to his age and pre-existing conditions including high blood pressure, liver disease and respiratory ailments.

The former Trump campaign aide was hospitalized for several days in December due to a “cardiac event,” his attorneys noted, adding that he also contracted influenza and bronchitis in February this year.

There have been no COVID-19 cases recorded at FCI Loretto, but sources told ABC News that the prison, which was a former monastery, would be hit hard if the virus struck.

Prisons across the country are allowing some of those sentenced for nonviolent crimes to be released to home confinement, especially for those at risk of contracting the deadly disease.

Attorney General William Barr has encouraged prisons to use home confinement more frequently for older inmates and those with pre-existing conditions.

The Justice Department released clarification for its policy on release to home confinement during the pandemic last month, saying the Bureau of Prisons was prioritizing those who had served half or more of their sentence or had 18 months or less remaining of their sentence.

Manafort had served less than 30 percent of his sentence, but prison officials are given leniency when making decisions for individual cases.

Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen is expected to be released to home confinement at the end of May, two unidentified sources told CBS News.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney who represented adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump, has been given temporary home confinement after being sentenced for extortion in February.

Updated at 8:50 a.m.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Michael Cohen Mueller investigation Paul Manafort Prison Robert Mueller Russia Investigation William Barr
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