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Judge calls Manafort plea deal 'highly unusual'

Judge calls Manafort plea deal 'highly unusual'
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The federal district court judge who presided over Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortMueller assembles team of cooperators in Russian probe Hillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Mueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report MORE’s criminal trial in Virginia called the plea deal President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE’s former campaign chairman reached with federal prosecutors “highly unusual.”

Just T. S. Ellis III, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, criticized federal prosecutors' plan in a court order Wednesday to delay Manafort’s sentencing and their request to dismiss the outstanding charges against him only after he’s fully cooperated with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation.

“In this district, the government’s decision to re-try a defendant on deadlocked counts is always made in a timely manner and sentencing occurs within two to no more than four months from entry of a guilty plea or receipt of a jury verdict,” Ellis wrote.

He ordered the parties in the case to return to court on Oct. 19 so a sentencing date can be set, a pre-sentence investigation report can be ordered and the parties can address their plan to dismiss the outstanding counts.

Last month, Manafort reached a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid a second criminal trial in Washington, D.C. He pleaded guilty to two federal charges — one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering.

The deal comes after a Virginia jury convicted him on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. The jury, however, deadlocked on another 10 charges. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors said they would seek to dismiss the remaining counts.