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Judge T.S. Ellis Cancels Expedited Manafort Sentencing Until Dispute Over ‘Lies’ to Mueller Is Resolved


Paul Manafort mugshot

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of eight felony counts back in August 2018, in the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom of one Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Although Ellis, months back, decided to expedite Manafort’s sentencing due to Manafort’s poor health and set that sentencing for Feb. 8, 2019, Ellis has now cancelled that sentencing due to the ongoing situation in U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson‘s Washington, D.C. courtroom.

Manafort, you may recall, was accused of “lying repeatedly” to investigators by special counsel Robert Mueller, resulting in what Mueller considered a breach of the cooperation agreement they had reached.

Recall that after Manafort was found guilty on eight out of 18 counts of bank and tax fraud felonies in Ellis’ courtroom Manafort reached a deal with the special counsel to avoid a second trial in Berman Jackson’s domain. Manafort has remained jailed ahead of sentencing. “Significant issues” with his health, both physical and mental, led Judge Ellis to consider moving up Manafort’s sentencing.

Ellis changed his tune on Monday.

“Because it appears that resolution of the current dispute in defendant’s prosecution in DC may have some effect on the sentencing decision in this case, it is prudent and appropriate to delay sentencing,” Ellis said.

Special Counsel Mueller alleged that Manafort “lied repeatedly” in five areas, in breach of a cooperation agreement, while Team Manafort has disputed that the former Trump campaign manager “intentionally lied.” They said there were a variety of factors to Manafort needing his memory refreshed. They mentioned Manafort’s time in prison, depression and anxiety, gout, and how much time had passed regarding events that were the subject of Mueller’s inquiry.

They said Mueller had no proof that he lied, while Mueller countered by saying that he was prepared to prove his case.

Ellis, if you paid attention to Manafort’s trial, is what one might consider a stickler. If Manafort’s current dispute “may have some effect on the sentencing decision” and Judge Berman Jackson rules against Manafort you could interpret this statement by Ellis as the precursor to a book-throwing.

Something else to keep in mind: one holdout juror’s take on the Virginia case against Manafort resulted in ten hung counts — counts Mueller and his prosecutors agreed to drop as part of Manafort’s plea agreement. Theoretically, Mueller could re-try Manafort on these counts.

[Image via Alexandria Detention Center]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.