Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort says an inmate named 'Ralph' invited him to the 'Italian table' in prison and became his 'mentor'

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort says an inmate named 'Ralph' invited him to the 'Italian table' in prison and became his 'mentor'
President Trump's one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives at Manhattan Supreme Court June 27, 2019 for his arraignment on mortgage fraud charges.TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
  • Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort credits an inmate named "Ralph" with helping him adjust in prison.
  • Ralph became his "mentor" and invited him to the "Italian table" for meals, he wrote in his forthcoming memoir.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort in his forthcoming memoir describes meeting an inmate named "Ralph" who would become his "mentor" at the Federal Correctional Institution Loretto, a low-security federal prison for men in Pennsylvania.

"'You're Italian, right?'" Ralph asked, according to the book, an early copy of which was obtained by Insider.

"'Yeah,' I said."

"'Well, you don't have anything to worry about. We got your back.'"

Ralph told Manafort that he got "screwed" and that he didn't have to worry because he wasn't a "rat," Manafort wrote in "Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced," which will be released on August 16.


He was sentenced to a total of seven and a half years in prison after being convicted of a slew of felonies before being pardoned by then-President Donald Trump a month before Trump left office.

But at Loretto, it was Ralph helping him out, Manafort wrote in his memoir.

Ralph invited him to sit with him at the "Italian table" for meals, which Manafort said positioned him "in so many ways, including with regard to who would be my friends."

He sat with "real characters" at that table, including "real criminals" and others who just had some bad luck.

Were they Goodfellas? Manafort didn't say that, exactly.


But he said they were "all nice people. And they were compassionate," adding that he was "glad to be with the Italians."

"I didn't get the sense that I had to do anything to keep the protection," Manafort wrote. "I ended up counseling some people, but nothing was ever asked of me besides being a friend."

Manafort learned some rules, like never to associate with "the rats" or the pedophiles, he wrote. Loretto apparently had a lot of the latter.

He asked Ralph to explain the rules, saying he wanted to "deal with each person as a human," an idea that made Ralph laugh.

"Over time, he educated me," Manafort wrote.


When one "tough-guy" inmate accused Manafort of being a "rat," Manafort wrote that he had his attorney send him his sentencing transcripts so other prisoners — Ralph and a muscle-bound inmate named "Vegas" — could assess them and "'cleanse'" him of the allegation. They proclaimed him innocent, he wrote.

Manafort described acquiring another layer of friends and fans after the "American Greed" program about him aired, talking about "the $90 million in the bank accounts, the oriental carpets, and the expensive clothes." He became "something of a business tutor" to men who wanted to learn how to run a legitimate business, he wrote.

"I became a kind of hero in prison, a role model for a lot of the younger guys," he wrote. "They all wanted to know how to be successful."

But, Manafort wrote, when he learned his fellow inmates had "enormous amounts of money hidden away," he thought they should be teaching him.

"They were able to go to prison and keep their money," he said.


Manafort was among several high-ranking Trump campaign associates who were charged in the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

He was indicted in two cases stemming from the Mueller probe. In one case brought in Virginia, Manafort was charged with multiple counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts. He was convicted of eight of 18 total counts.

In the second case, brought in Washington, DC, Manafort was charged with additional counts of false statements, obstruction, conspiracy, money laundering, and failure to register as a foreign agent. He struck a plea deal before going to trial and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction. But a federal judge threw out the deal after finding that Manafort lied to prosecutors after agreeing to cooperate with them.