Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman who later was convicted of tax and bank fraud, was released from prison Wednesday to serve the remainder of his seven-and-a-half-year term in home confinement.
The 71-year-old Manafort had served a little more than a year of his term and was not due to be released from a federal prison in the eastern state of Pennsylvania until November 2024.
But his lawyers prevailed in their bid with federal prison officials to get him freed to home confinement because they said he was at high risk of contracting coronavirus because of his age and underlying medical conditions, including high blood pressure, liver disease and respiratory ailments.
Manafort was convicted during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into wrongdoing during Trump’s successful 2016 run for the White House. But Manafort’s convictions stemmed from his lobbying and investments in Ukraine that predated his work for the Trump campaign.
He joined Trump’s campaign as its convention manager in March 2016 and was its campaign chairman from May 2016 to August of that year before resigning as questions emerged in public accounts about his work in Ukraine between 2006 and 2015.
There were no known coronavirus cases at the federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, where Manafort was being held. But the facility was an old monastery with an open physical configuration, which possibly could have made it susceptible to a wide spread of COVID-19.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has directed federal prison officials to consider home confinement for inmates deemed in “at risk” categories for coronavirus, such as medical conditions, and about 2,500 have been moved to their homes to complete their sentences.
Manafort’s lawyers said he could move to an apartment in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington where his wife lives.