Trial Judge Presses Mueller on Deadlocked Charges From Manafort Trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – The federal judge who presided over former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s fraud trial in Virginia wants to know when – or if – the special counsel’s team will pursue a series of counts the jury deadlocked on last summer.

In a two-page order filed late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said the plea agreement Manafort reached with prosecutors last month at a federal court in Washington, D.C. “appear[s] to anticipate”  that his sentencing in Virginia will be deferred until after his cooperation with the special counsel is complete.

But according to Ellis, “this would be highly unusual.”

“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,” he wrote.

A jury in Virginia found Manafort guilty on August 21 following a 12-day trial and four days of deliberations.

Jurors found him guilty on eight counts, including bank fraud, failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts and falsifying individual income on tax returns.

But it couldn’t reach a consensus on 10 other counts — three counts related to the former campaign chairman’s alleged failure to register foreign bank accounts, and seven counts associated with bank fraud and/or conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

“If Manafort is cooperating with the government before sentencing and plans to continue that cooperation after sentencing, the government must either file a 5K1.1 motion, a Rule 35 motion or both, depending on the circumstances,” Ellis wrote.

Pursuant to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, if a defendant cooperates ahead of sentencing, prosecutors must file a motion known as a “5K” motion. Under those same guidelines, if a defendant agrees to cooperate after sentencing is decided, prosecutors must file a Rule 35 motion.

Ellis said at the point, the “proper course” of action would be to resolve the deadlocked counts by retrial, dismissal or to sentence him and “resolve any other issues related to Manafort’s cooperation,” he wrote.

“This case appears to be no different from any other case in which the defendant is cooperating and that cooperation is expected to extend beyond a scheduled sentencing date,” he added.

A conference date at the federal court in Alexandria has been set for Oct. 19.

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