Paul Manafort checks into 'VIP' section of jail where singer Chris Brown also did time

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, has been sent to jail pending trial after special counsel Robert Mueller filed new claims against him for witness tampering and argued that he has violated the terms of his bail.
Jail records show that Paul Manafort was booked into the 'VIP' section of the jail, on June 15, 2018.
Jail records show that Paul Manafort was booked into the 'VIP' section of the jail, on June 15, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - The Northern Neck Regional Jail, where Paul Manafort will spend at least the next three months while awaiting trial, has the outward appearance of being a small local jail holding street thugs and assorted misdemeanants.

But it also houses federal prisoners awaiting trial - including a member of the Taleban and a feared Colombian drug lord. And it held National Football League star Michael Vick and musician Chris Brown in recent years.

The jail is notable for another reason - four inmates have died there since 2011.

In one of those deaths, a 32-year-old female inmate who suffered a stroke in 2016 was denied medical care for more than 10 hours and was declared brain dead later that night.

The woman's family sued six jail officials for wrongful death, also alleging that the jail tried to cover up its actions. In November, the defendants paid the woman's two juvenile daughters a US$375,000 (S$506,587) settlement, court records show.

Manafort, 69, has been indicted on charges in what prosecutors say was a broad conspiracy to launder more than US$30 million over a decade of undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian former politician and party in Ukraine.

He was taken into custody last Friday (June 15) after US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked his pretrial release conditions pending trial in Washington because he allegedly contacted witnesses in the case.

But rather than place him in the District of Columbia or Alexandria, Virginia, jails, where local federal prisoners are often housed, Manafort was driven 90 miles (145km) southeast to the Northern Neck jail in Warsaw, Virginia, not far from the banks of the Rappahhanock River.

Jail records show that Manafort was booked into the "VIP" section of the jail at 8.22am local time last Friday.

The Northern Neck jail roster indicates more than 600 inmates are currently in custody. Inmates are permitted one personal visit per week, and Manafort was assigned Fridays from 2.15pm to 3.15pm as his visitation window. Visitors may only speak to inmates through a glass partition, called "non-contact" visits, for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Northern Neck inmates, as with most jails, cannot receive calls, but they can make collect or pre-paid calls between 8.30am and 10.30pm, according to jail rules. Unless the calls are to an attorney, they are recorded. Attorneys may visit with clients remotely by video visitation on their computers or smartphones, the jail's website notes.

In Virginia, regional jails are built when counties pool their funds to build a facility rather than each county trying to fund and maintain its own jail. The counties form a board to supervise the jail and they hire the jail superintendent.

In the 1990s, Richmond and Westmoreland counties and the town of Warsaw pooled their resources and built a regional jail which opened in 1995 with a capacity of 198. It has since been expanded two more times, and two more counties, Northumberland and Gloucester, have joined as members.

In 2007, after Vick, the former quarterback, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to dog fighting, he surrendered to Northern Neck to begin serving his time even before he had been sentenced. He was there about six weeks.

Brown, the singer and songwriter, spent about three weeks in the Northern Neck jail after being extradited from Los Angeles to await awaiting trial on a misdemeanour assault charge in Washington in 2014.

More notorious inmates also have been housed in Northern Neck by the US Marshals Service. Irek Hamidullin, a member of the Taleban-linked Haqqani Network, led a 2009 attack on Afghan police and US soldiers in Afghanistan, and was later captured and transported to America for trial. He was held in Northern Neck until his conviction and life sentence in 2015.

In 2008, American forces captured Hernan Giraldo Serna, designated a foreign narcotics kingpin, in Colombia, where he allegedly shipped thousands of kilograms of cocaine into America and oversaw a violent criminal enterprise in northern Colombia. While being held in Northern Neck, other Colombians in the jail would rise when he entered the room, sharpen his pencils and fetch his papers, jail superintendent Ted Hull told The New York Times.