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Special counsel Robert Mueller wants former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort sentenced soon in Virginia case

Key Points
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge to schedule a new criminal sentencing date in Virginia federal court for former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort "as soon as practicable."
  • Mueller said a ruling this week by another judge in Washington, D.C., federal court that Manafort had lied multiple times to the special counsel's team while under a plea agreement means that "there are no outstanding issues warranting delay" in the related Virginia criminal case.
  • Manafort ran Donald Trump's presidential campaign for several months in 2016. He had agreed to cooperate with Mueller's probe of Russian interference in that election, and other issues.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (L) arrives at a federal courthouse with his attorney Kevin Downing, November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images

Special counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge Friday to schedule a new criminal sentencing date in Virginia federal court for former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort "as soon as practicable."

Mueller said a ruling this week by another judge in Washington, D.C., federal court that Manafort had lied multiple times to the special counsel's team while under a plea agreement means that "there are no outstanding issues warranting delay" in the related Virginia criminal case.

"The government is prepared for sentencing at the Court's earliest convenience," Mueller wrote in a filing to Judge T.S. Ellis in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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Mueller also said he expects to file a sentencing submission in the case with Ellis later Friday.

Manafort, who has been in jail without bond since June after being accused of witness tampering in his cases, already is scheduled to be sentenced March 13 in the Washington case.

He had been scheduled to be sentenced in Virginia on Feb. 8. But that was postponed due to the dispute in the Washington case over whether Manafort had breached his plea deal with Mueller.

Manafort's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

The longtime Republican operative was convicted Aug. 21 of eight felony counts — which included tax fraud, failure to file a report of a foreign bank and financial accounts, and bank fraud — after trial before Ellis in Virginia. A jury deadlocked on 10 other counts in that case.

That case related to income Manafort made while doing consulting for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, work that preceded his tenure as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.

On Sept. 14, Manafort pleaded guilty in Washington federal court to conspiracy charges, just three days before he was due to go on trial there. That case also related to his work in Ukraine.

Manafort as part of his plea agreed to cooperate with Mueller's ongoing probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, and possible collusion by members of the Trump campaign in that meddling. President Donald Trump denies any wrongdoing by his campaign.

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That plea agreement required Manafort to tell the truth to Mueller's team, or risk it not recommending leniency when he was ultimately sentenced.

In November, Mueller accused Manafort in Washington court of violating his plea deal by lying about his interactions with a former employee, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is alleged to be a Russian spy. Kilimnik told The New York Times in 2017 that "I vehemently deny" any ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the judge in the D.C. case, said Wednesday that Mueller's team proved during sealed hearings that Manafort lied several times to the FBI, the special counsel and a grand jury about payments made to a law firm, his communications with Kilimnik and about other matters "material to another investigation conducted by the Department of Justice."

But Jackson also ruled that Mueller failed to provide enough evidence that Manafort lied in October about Kilimnik's alleged role in an obstruction of justice conspiracy, as well as about as his own contacts with the Trump administration.

Lawyers for Manafort had claimed in court filings that he did not make "intentional misstatements." The defense team also suggested 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."