Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen Is Paul Manafort's New Prison Concierge
If they were ever trying to hide the corruption, they sure as shit aren't doing it any more. Last night, the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, the number two guy at the Justice Department, personally intervened to make sure Paul Manafort would not be handed over to the New York prison authorities pending his trial on state charges. Just a little token of affection from the White House for services rendered, we guess. It's good to have friends in high places!
Last week, Rosen sent a letter to Manhattan prosecutors that "indicated that he was monitoring where Mr. Manafort would be held in New York." Just, like, as a courtesy or whatever. He does it for every poor brown kid who gets popped on federal gun charges, too. You bet!
If transferred to state custody, Manafort would likely have been held in the prison hospital at the notoriously dangerous Rikers Island jail complex pending his trial on charges of mortgage fraud and falsifying business records. But Rosen's letter made no mention of safety issues at Rikers -- why acknowledge that New York's jail is unsafe if you're going to send hundreds of prisoners there every year and only intervene for Friends of Donald, right? Normally, inmate transfer decisions are made by the prison warden, so it's somewhat surprising that the Deputy Attorney General is arrogating the decision to himself. And by surprising, we mean shocking, like a fucking palace coup.
Yesterday, the federal Bureau of Prisons told Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance that they did not intend to hand Manafort over as scheduled before his arraignment next week, and CNN confirms that he was transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan Monday.
Now, two things can be true at once. Rikers can be an inhumane hellhole that should be closed down, AND ALSO it can be wildly corrupt for Donald Trump's crony to intervene to spare the guy who blew up his plea deal by lying over and over to federal prosecutors about giving internal Trump campaign polling data to an alleged Russian spy. If Manafort were any other federal inmate facing additional New York state charges, he'd wind up at Rikers. And it reeks to high heaven that, on the very same day that he bragged about increasing drug arrests and detaining more immigrants, Rosen is also reaching out to make sure that the guy who may or may not have kept his mouth shut about Trump fuckery stays as comfortable as possible.
Manafort's attorney Todd Blanche defended the DOJ's intervention, saying, "You'll find no example of someone like Mr. Manafort being prosecuted by the feds and then by the district attorney for exactly the same conduct." Which is kind of amazing on the very day when the Supreme Court held 7-2 that the dual sovereignty doctrine allows them to do just that. Mr. Blanche also claims to have informed DA Vance's office of his concerns before running to the press claiming that the New York prosecutors were "insisting that Mr. Manafort remain on Rikers Island, likely in solitary confinement, pending trial." Only the Times can't find anyone in Vance's office who ever saw Blanche's purported communications, and the Manhattan prosecutors claim to have "taken no position on where Mr. Manafort is held."
Nice try, Blanche, but you'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat Manafort's old lawyers for sheer fuckery. LOL, remember that time when they tried to redact the pleading but were no better at PDF than their idiot client so they wound up telling the world about his leaks to Konstantin Kilimnik?
For which the President, and by extension the entire US government, thanks you for your service, Mister Manafort. If there's anything the Justice Department can do, well, anything short of a full pardon before the 2020 election, please, don't hesitate to let your prison concierge Jeffrey Rosen know.
In conclusion: Paul Manafort is BAD. Rikers Island is BAD. The Department of Justice's good name and reputation for prosecutorial independence is being pissed away by a corrupt cabal of crooks. And when we said that whoever came after Rod Rosenstein would be WORSE, we were RIGHT.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.