Manafort asked the court to move his July 25 trial date in Virginia back to allow for more time to prepare, but Mueller's team insists that Manafort's complaint "does not warrant the expansive relief sought".
Far from being restrictive, prosecutors said Manafort had been given a personal telephone in his cell, which he used for more than 300 calls with attorneys and others over the past three weeks, and found a workaround to the jail's ban on email.
But Judge Ellis denied a motion to head off the transfer.
Manafort's prosecution spawned out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Previously, they had described him as being kept in "solitary confinement" nearly 24 hours a day for his own safety. Manafort's lawyers said he had "very limited access to his attorneys and the records".
The judge responded by ordering the U.S. Marshal Service to move Manafort from a jail in Warsaw, Virginia, to one in Alexandria.
In recent phone calls, they say, Manafort also has said he has "all my files like I would at home" and has "gone through all the discovery now".
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"Because he is a high-profile inmate, Mr. Manafort will be placed in protective custody which limits his interactions with other inmates", Alexandria's sheriff, Dana Lawhorne, said in a statement, according to the Washington Post.
Manafort had argued that being held at the jail, about 100 miles from Washington, D.C., kept him from meeting easily with his legal team. "It is surprising and confusing when the counsel identifies a problem and then opposes the most logical solution to that problem", Ellis wrote Wednesday, adding, "Defense counsel has not identified any general or specific threat to defendant's safety at the Alexandria Detention Center". Moreover, he wrote, in the Alexandria jail, Manafort "will actually avoid the discomfort of long commutes during trial days". In Alexandria there are no private electronics for inmates, and Manafort was photographed in his green jumpsuit when his mugshot was taken Thursday.
But Manafort's legal team didn't complain until the last minute, the USA said.
Manafort, who is charged with financial fraud and witness tampering, had his own laptop and his own phone in the rural prison where he was housed for more than a month.
Ellis, the judge in the Virginia case, has directed lawyers for both sides to appear on July 17, to argue about whether the case should be delayed or moved.
But soon after the judge issued his order, Manafort's lawyers essentially told the judge "never mind" and urged the court to keep Manafort in his current jail in Warsaw.
Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial.