Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been released from prison due to coronavirus concerns, CNN reports. Manafort was released on Wednesday following the approval of a request from his lawyers to serve his sentence at home while the pandemic is ongoing. He has been behind bars since June 2018, and is currently serving a 7.5 year sentence for tax fraud and foreign lobbying crimes.
His attorney, Kevin Downing, confirmed the news to CNN, and said that his client is expected to serve the remainder of his term in home confinement. Before he was released, Manafort was serving time in a Western Pennsylvania federal prison.
"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," Manafort's lawyers wrote in a letter sent to prison officials last month. The letter suggested that he could serve his sentence at his three-bedroom apartment in Northern Virginia with his wife. Prior to the pandemic, Manafort had spent time in the hospital for a heart condition, while earlier this year he contracted the flu and then bronchitis.
The news comes just as the Justice Department officially dropped its charges against another former Trump staffer, Michael Flynn.
The coronavirus has impacted America's prison system heavily, resulting in the release of some prisoners, most notably, Tekashi 6ix9ine. So far, almost 2,500 high-risk inmates have been moved to home confinement to help slow the spread of the virus.