A judge has indefinitely postponed the sentencing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Virginia on Monday.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said the decision to cancel the hearing was “prudent and appropriate” until the “current dispute” in his Washington, D.C. case is settled.
Last Friday, a federal judge said she would hold a hearing behind closed doors to determine whether Manafort intentionally lied to investigators, including about sharing polling data with a business associate the U.S. says has ties to Russian intelligence.
Attorneys with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office say Manafort breached his plea deal by repeatedly making false statements after he began cooperating with them in September. Manafort’s lawyers say he simply had an inconsistent recollection of facts and events from several years ago, and that he suffers from depression and anxiety and had little time to prepare for questioning on the days he met with investigators. The allegations threaten his chances of getting leniency at sentencing. Attorneys with the special counsel told Judge Amy Berman Jackson the deal was no longer a factor, but they hadn’t decided how to adjust their sentencing request.
Manafort’s attorneys acknowledged the special counsel had the authority under the terms of the deal to revoke it if they determined that their client was lying and did so in good faith.
However, the judge said that she isn’t yet convinced, and her decision will impact how much time he gets behind bars. Jackson said some of Manafort’s arguments, particularly the idea that some defendants misstate facts and then correct them later on “have some force.” “Investigators shouldn’t have to pull teeth” to get the truth,” the judge said, adding that “not all the issues rise to the level of actual false statements.”
“He may have lied, pure and simple,” in those instances, she added.
The court documents already filed on the matter have been heavily blacked-out. One allegation that did emerge from a poorly redacted defense filing was especially striking — that Manafort shared polling data from the 2016 campaign with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate and co-defendant charged by Mueller, and then lied about it. Kilimnik is not in U.S. custody and has denied links to Russian intelligence.
The attorneys requested — and Jackson granted — to seal even the portions unintentionally made public. However, Manafort’s attorneys said they would be comfortable placing details about his mental and physical health on the record.
Jackson questioned whether the special counsel would charge Manafort with additional crimes as a result of the alleged violation and wondered whether her determination on whether he lied would somehow prejudice any additional charges.
Attorney Andrew Weissmann said there were no plans to do so — but didn’t rule it out entirely. Either way, he said, he believed her determination would not affect it. “There were a lot of promises that were made,” he said. “I’m not in any way saying it will happen. But we do want to preserve that ability.”
This story is developing. Check Breitbart News for more updates.