Paul Manafort, scourge of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigators — a.k.a. Deep State anti-Donald Trumpers, in White House and political truth-telling circles, that is — has been sent to Rikers Island, the place where prisoners go to be abused and neglected. The place where even Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King says Manafort doesn’t belong.
You know you’ve ticked off the government when they send you to a jail so known for its hellish conditions that it’s slated for shutdown. And then put you in isolation as a favor — as protection.
You also know you’ve received a weirdly harsh sentence when you’re a wealthy well-placed, well-connected white man who nonetheless, somehow, elicits sympathy from a radical BLM activist.
But this is what’s transpired with former campaign chairman Manafort, guilty of filing false tax returns and other banking and financial fraud — charges that came to light as Mueller was investigating President Donald Trump for nonexistent collusion-with-Russia and busying himself making storm-troop-type raids of those connected to the Trump campaign.
Here, a tweet from King, as noted by Fox News: “I see people excited to see Paul Manafort sent to Rikers Island and put in solitary confinement. 1. Rikers Island should be closed down. 2. Solitary confinement should be ended. We must be so principled in our calls for reform that we want them even for our enemies.”
Rikers, home to the likes of David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam” serial killer, as well as to several rap artists, a couple politicians, a former NFLer and former NBAer, and other musical talents, may have a reputation for housing notables, for at least a transient time.
But it also has a reputation as a place of gang warfare, brutality and corruption — so much so that in 2014, the Department of Justice labeled it a “deep-seated culture of violence.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has put forth a 10-year plan to shutter the facility.
“Closing Rikers Island,” he said, AMNY.com reported in March, “is a key piece of creating a smaller, safer and fairer criminal justice system in New York City. It is the right thing to do, but will take time, the effort of many and tough decisions along the way.”
And in keeping in theme — you know you have a really hard-core crappy prison on your hand when even a far-leftist like de Blasio takes time out from his SUV-caravan jaunts to his cushy fitness center and from speeches about climate change to put together a plan to shutter the facility.
Rikers is “a hell hole that nobody should have to go to,” King wrote. “Even Paul Manafort.”
Check the skies. Pigs must be flying. One of Manafort’s biggest allies right now seems a BLM activist who founded Real Justice PAC — and who has honorably come forward with a call for principle over shrill politics.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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