U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis on Friday sought to tie up the remaining loose-ends in Paul Manafort’s case in Virginia, in a hearing where Manafort showed up in a wheelchair, with his right foot appearing to be in some sort of white sock or wrapping.
Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney said that the former Trump campaign chair was suffering “significant issues” with his health in the Alexandria jail where he is being detained. He said the issues had to do with the terms of his confinement needed to guarantee his safety.
Downing was seeking to expedite Manafort’s sentencing, suggesting that moving him to the prison where he’d be detained long term would help him with his health condition.
Ellis set a sentencing date for February 8, 2019.
A person familiar with Manafort’s condition said it was a serious medical condition that had to do with inflammation related to his diet.
At the hearing, the 10 counts on which the jury was deadlocked in the case — which focused on bank fraud and tax fraud allegations — were also dismissed without prejudice by Ellis. The jury in Virginia convicted Manafort of eight counts in the case.
Since Manafort reached a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, days before Mueller’s separate case against Manafort in D.C. was set to go trial, prosecutors had had attempted to avoid making an announcement as whether they would seek drop or retry the 10 counts.
Ellis, in his order announcing Friday’s hearing, expressed his distaste for leaving those counts open for an unlimited amount of time.
“Typically I don’t do that,” Ellis said Friday, adding that he did not want to treat Manafort’s case any differently than the other cases that come before him.
Earlier in the week, prosecutors had conceded that they’d be willing to drop the counts if Ellis insisted, even if their preference had been to put that decision on hold until Manafort had finished cooperating with Mueller.
Manafort will also have a seperate sentencing in his case in D.C., where he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and to conspiracy to obstruct justice with witness tampering. That sentencing date has not been set yet.
During Ellis’ back and forth with the prosecutors, he asked them to confirm that they would not be able to tell him Friday when Manafort’s cooperation would be complete.
“That’s correct your honor,” said Uzo Asonye, a Virginia-based prosecutor assisting Mueller’s team in the Manafort case.
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