Judge cancels ex-Trump campaign chief Manafort sentencing hearing

A federal judge Monday canceled former President Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s sentencing in his Virginia case, which was scheduled for Feb. 8, according to a filing.

In an order Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis III, of the district court for the Eastern District of Virginia, said the resolution of an ongoing dispute in a separate case against President Trump’s former campaign chairman could have some effect on the sentencing in the case before him.

Manafort was convicted of eight counts of bank and tax fraud in the federal court in Alexandria over the summer. 

He faced separate charges in the District of Columbia, but reached a plea deal with prosecutors in September to avoid a second trial. As part of the deal, Manafort agreed to fully cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In November, Mueller accused Manafort of breaching that deal and committing new crimes by repeatedly lying to federal prosecutors about five different matters, including his contacts with the Trump administration and his interactions and meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business associate who is suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence.

Manafort’s attorneys have disputed the allegations; they say he never intentionally lied. 

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the case in D.C., last week ordered a sealed hearing to be held on Feb .4 to resolve the dispute. 

Her decision will influence how much time Manafort receives under the sentencing guidelines. As part of the deal, Manafort agreed to plead guilty to two conspiracy charges, which together carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. 

Ellis said it is prudent and appropriate to delay sentencing in the Virginia case until the matter is resolved in D.C.

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