A federal judge on Friday scheduled a Feb. 8 sentencing date for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, who was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud.
Manafort showed up to the Alexandria, Va. courthouse for the hearing reportedly clad in a prison jumpsuit and sitting in a wheelchair. He appeared to be missing his right shoe when he was wheeled into the courtroom, NBC News reported.
His attorney, Kevin Downing, said in court that Manafort is suffering “significant issues” with his health “that have to do with his confinement,” The Washington Post reported. Downing did not elaborate on Manafort’s apparent health problems, but Judge T.S. Ellis agreed to hasten the preparation of Manafort’s pre-sentencing report anyway.
Manafort was sent to jail on June 15 by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson pending his multiple trials in Virginia and Washington, D.C., after prosecutors accused him of tampering with potential witnesses.
His lawyers had complained that Manafort was “locked in his cell for at least 23 hours per day” in solitary confinement as they appealed Jackson’s decision.
But prosecutors pushed back, detailing a recorded phone call in which Manafort said the jail staff was treating him like a VIP. He was subsequently transferred to the Alexandria Detention Center.
He was found guilty on eight criminal counts in the Virginia trial in August, and pleaded guilty in the D.C. case shortly before it was scheduled to begin in September. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation as part of that plea deal.
Mueller’s team is conducting an ongoing probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
Manafort was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors on charges related to his consulting work years earlier for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
The Friday hearing in Alexandria was also set to address 10 other criminal counts that were deadlocked by the 12-member jury during the August trial.
Mueller’s prosecutors had the option to re-try those deadlocked counts, and had signaled their intention to wait on that decision until after Manafort had finished cooperating. But Ellis said in a court filing that that would be a “highly unusual” thing to wait for, and told Mueller to make a decision at the hearing.
The U.S. attorneys told Ellis that they would accept a dismissal of the counts so long as they had the option to re-file the charges in the future.