Ellis, a 77-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee, expressed skepticism that Mueller's team actually cares about the former Trump campaign chairman's alleged crimes, saying, "I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate". The transfer comes after Manafort bragged about his "VIP" treatment at Northern Neck Regional Jail.
Judge T.S. Ellis III rejected those concerns in moving Manafort to Alexandria.
Manafort, who was charged as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related matters, was moved to Alexandria, Virginia, just days after his lawyers argued that he was being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, hurting his ability to prepare a defense for himself. In the meantime, he said Manafort would be moved from the Northern Neck to the jail in Alexandria, in suburban Washington, "to ensure that the defendant has access to his counsel and can adequately prepare his defense". Since then, Manafort's lawyers have said they can not properly prepare for a trial scheduled to start later this month with a client jailed two hours outside of Washington, D.C.
In a court document filed on Wednesday, prosecutors said Manafort enjoyed a larger-than-average cell at the Warsaw facility, including "his own bathroom and shower facility, his own personal telephone and his own workspace to prepare for trial".
But Manafort's attorneys complained about the distance they had to regularly travel to meet with him in an effort to delay his trial.More news: Game of Thrones racks up 22 Emmy nominations
A hearing to discuss Manafort's request for a trial postponement is scheduled for July 17.
In their court filing Wednesday, prosecutors sought to pick apart Manafort's arguments that he needs to delay the trial because of his jail conditions.
His lawyers argued that he was safe in the Warsaw, Va. facility, where according to prosecutors he has a private phone and laptop and does not have to wear a jumpsuit.
Attorneys for Manafort also took issue with prosecutors' revelation of the content of some of Manafort's personal phone calls and suggested that Manafort was sugar-coating his conditions of confinement to ease the concern of friends and family. They said Mueller's team "does not pause to consider the reasons a detained defendant might have to make his situation sound better when speaking with concerned friends and family".