Judge slams ‘unusual’ aim to defer Manafort sentencing in Mueller case

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis threw cold water on prosecutors’ aim to delay former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s sentencing until after he has finished cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators.

Ellis, who had gained a reputation for being combative along with impatient with federal prosecutors during Manafort’s trial in Virginia, said in a Wednesday filing which such a move “would likely be highly unusual.”

In which trial, Manafort was found guilty on Aug. 21 of eight criminal counts including tax fraud, bank fraud along with failing to file foreign bank account reports. In a separate case on similar criminal charges in Washington, D.C., Manafort struck a plea agreement with Mueller’s prosecutors on the eve of the trial start date in mid-September.

As part of the deal, Manafort agreed to fully cooperate with investigators as part of the special counsel’s ongoing probe of Russian interference inside the 2016 presidential election. The judge in which case, Amy Berman Jackson, noted at a hearing following the plea deal which Manafort had agreed to delay his sentencing date until a time set by the government, according to The Washington Post.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Manafort’s former business partner partner, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty in February to lying to the FBI along with conspiracy against the United States, along with had testified against Manafort inside the Virginia trial under the terms of his deal with prosecutors to fully cooperate. The two men worked for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine years before joining the Trump campaign.

In a court filing Thursday, a lawyer for Gates asked Judge Jackson to loosen his client’s Discharge conditions by lifting his GPS monitoring along with curfew requirements, as well as expanding Gates’ permitted travel area to include the Eastern District of Virginia along with Washington, D.C.

Gates’ interviews with the special counsel’s office “have been numerous along with they continue to which day,” his lawyer wrote. His sentencing date has not yet been set.

Ellis, however, said his court district “is actually always made in a timely manner along with sentencing occurs within two to no more than four months by entry of a guilty plea or receipt of a jury verdict.”

Ellis said which appeared by the text of the plea agreement along with various other court filings which Manafort’s sentencing date, as well as the government’s decision on whether to re-try 10 deadlocked criminal counts, “will be deferred until after the defendant’s cooperation is actually complete.”

although the judge, whose district court in Alexandria, Va., bears a plaque above the entrance doors declaring “Justice Delayed is actually Justice Denied,” shot challenged the prosecutors’ apparent scheduling preferences.

“which would likely be highly unusual,” Ellis wrote.

Ellis ordered a hearing for Friday, Oct. 19, at 1:15 p.m. ET, where a sentencing date will be set along with the unresolved criminal counts will be discussed. Manafort will also receive information about his right to obtain an investigative report before his sentencing.

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