Paul Manafort, the longtime Republican consultant who spent five months as President Donald Trump's campaign chairman during the 2016 election, will be sentenced for multiple federal crimes at a U.S. district court in Virginia on March 8, according to a court filing posted Thursday.
In a one-page court filing dated Feb. 19, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said Manafort must file his sentencing memorandum by the evening of March 1. The office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, will have the opportunity to reply to Manafort's memo by March 6, according to the court order.
Mueller's prosecutors brought the case against Manafort, who a jury convicted last year on eight counts of bank and fraud tax, and told Ellis last Friday that Manafort deserves between 19.5 and 24.5 years in prison and a fine between $50,000 and $24 million in the Virginia case.
Manafort also awaits a March 13 sentencing date in a separate case brought by Mueller in Washington, where he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and charges of lying to federal prosecutors and a grand jury. Mueller's office must submit a sentencing memo recommending a length for Manafort's prison sentence to District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson no later than Friday.
In Virginia, Ellis had scheduled Manafort's sentencing for early February, but the hearing was postponed until attorneys resolved a dispute over whether Manafort had breached his plea deal with Mueller in the Washington case. Jackson ruled last week that Manafort had purposefully lied to the FBI, as well as to Mueller's team, about contacts he had with Trump administration officials and his connections to Russian-linked intelligence officers two months after reaching a plea deal, thus voiding it and allowing Mueller to recommend a harsher sentence.
Lawyers for Manafort claimed in court filings that he did not make "intentional misstatements" and "provided complete and truthful information to the best of his ability" over the course of 12 meetings with government attorneys and federal prosecutors. His defense team also stated that "conditions of Mr. Manafort's confinement have taken a toll on his physical and mental health" and weighed on his "state of mind and on his memory."
Ellis and Jackson, the judges in the Virginia and Washington cases, are likely to determine how Manafort will serve his prison time. Under the original plea deal, Mueller had agreed to recommend that Manafort serve his Washington sentence concurrent with his Virginia sentence. But following Jackson's ruling last week, Mueller may suggest that Manafort serve the sentences consecutively.
Manafort could be spared prison if he is granted a presidential pardon, although that move would be certain to court controversy and could pose additional legal challenges for Trump. Last November, Trump, speaking of a pardon for Manafort, said he "wouldn't take it off the table." At the time, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, warned Trump that "even dangling a pardon" for Manafort "would fortify a claim or charge of obstruction of justice."