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Paul Manafort, 71, is RELEASED from prison: Trump's disgraced former campaign chairman is granted home confinement amid COVID concerns - just one year into his seven-and-half year sentence

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been released from prison just one year into his seven-and-a-half year sentence to serve out the remainder at home after claiming he was afraid of being exposed to coronavirus behind bars.  
Manafort, 71, was serving a seven year sentence for bank fraud and tax evasion at the federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He was sentenced last March. 
Last month, his attorneys wrote to the Bureau of Prisons claiming that he was particularly vulnerable to the virus because of his age and pre-existing health conditions which include 'high blood pressure, liver disease and respiratory ailments'.  
ABC reports that Manafort was quietly released from the correctional facility on Wednesday morning despite there not being a single case of the virus there.
It is unclear where he will now spend his time. Manafort has several properties including a condo in Alexandria, Virginia, and a home in Palm Beach, Florida. 
Details of his release were not immediately available on Wednesday morning. 
He is now the latest Trump associate to have his prison stint cut short by the pandemic.  
Paul Manafort (pictured in June) was quietly released from the Pennsylvania federal prison where he was serving a seven year sentence on Wednesday. He will now serve out the remainder at home
Paul Manafort (pictured in June) was quietly released from the Pennsylvania federal prison where he was serving a seven year sentence on Wednesday. He will now serve out the remainder at home 



Manafort was serving time at FCI Loretto in Pennsylvania. There are no confirmed cases there but his attorneys said he would be at risk if it spread
Manafort was serving time at FCI Loretto in Pennsylvania. There are no confirmed cases there but his attorneys said he would be at risk if it spread 
Michael Cohen, 53, the president's former lawyer who brokered hush money payments with women including Stormy Daniels, is due to be released at the end of May. 
Roger Stone, the president's former adviser who is 67, has had his sentencing on charges including lying to congress and witness tampering, delayed for 30 days. 
Trump last month also hinted at pardoning Manafort and Stone. 
He called the FBI investigators who brought the two men down 'human scum' and said: 'You'll find out what I'm going to do. 
'I'm not going to say what I'm going to do. But the whole thing turned out to be a scam' 
Roger Stone
Michael Cohen
Other Trump associates Roger Stone (left) and Michael Cohen (right) have had their prison stints cut short by the pandemic. Stone was due to start a 40-month prison sentence in April but it was pushed back 30 days. Cohen will be released at the end of the month to complete his sentence at home


Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' former lawyer, has also been released from prison early
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' former lawyer, has also been released from prison early
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' former lawyer who is in custody on an array of charges including fraud, has also been released amid fears of COVID-19 exposure.  
Separately, the Justice Department shockingly asked a judge last week to drop the case against Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. 
The decision sparked outrage among Trump critics and prompted claims Attorney General Bill Barr was being swayed politically. 
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the prison where Manafort was being held, but sources told ABC that because of its open layout, the virus would spread rapidly through it if just one person became infected. 
The facility is a former monastery so has an open configuration.
In their letter to the Bureau of Prisons, they said: 'Given the growing number of cases in Pennsylvania and increasing challenges in testing inmates and staff potentially exposed to COVID-19, it is only a matter of time before the infection spreads to staff and inmates at FCI Loretto, at which time it may be too late to prevent high-risk inmates, such as Mr. Manafort, from contracting the potentially deadly virus.'  
A court sketch shows Manafort in a wheelchair at his sentence hearing in March last year
A court sketch shows Manafort in a wheelchair at his sentence hearing in March last year
Manafort was Trump's campaign manager. He is shown with the then candidate and Ivanka Trump in 2016, on stage at the RNC
Manafort was Trump's campaign manager. He is shown with the then candidate and Ivanka Trump in 2016, on stage at the RNC 
Manafort was convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced last March
Manafort was convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced last March
COVID-19 has spread rapidly through other prison populations and accounts for huge percentages of some state's total case count.
In New York City, inmates from Rikers Island were released early in the pandemic amid fears they would be exposed if they had to remain behind bars. 
Officials at the time said they were faced with a dilemma of protecting public health and protecting society. 
AG Barr ordered federal prisons to maximum their release efforts where they could and states have taken their own steps to reduce prison populations.  

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