Judge calls Manafort plea deal 'highly unusual'

Judge calls Manafort plea deal 'highly unusual'
© Getty Images

The federal district court judge who presided over Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTop Mueller prosecutor: 'I would have subpoenaed' Trump during investigation FBI official who worked with Mueller raised doubts about Russia investigation Our Constitution is under attack by Attorney General William Barr MORE’s criminal trial in Virginia called the plea deal President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate 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 (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.