The defense team for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort did not miss a major court filing deadline at midnight to respond to previously made allegations by special counsel Robert Mueller that their client broke the terms of a plea deal agreement reached last year — despite no action on the public docket for the case.
A spokesman for Manafort said that the response was filed under seal on Monday.
“Manafort’s counsel filed their opposition yesterday under seal,” said Jason Maloni in an email to the Washington Examiner.
However, the public docket of Manafort’s criminal case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has posted no action since Dec. 11, 2018. There is no motion on the public docket by Manafort’s team asking for permission to file their response under seal.
Parties normally need permission from the judge to file under seal. Maloni did not immediately say if Manafort’s defense team filed that motion.
In November, prosecutors on Mueller’s team accused Manafort of breaking the terms of his plea agreement — which put the terms of the deal, reached in September, in jeopardy and made it more likely that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. In a three-page joint court filing in federal court in Washington on Nov. 26, federal prosecutors said Manafort “committed federal crimes by lying to the FBI and the special counsel’s office on a variety of subject matters” after agreeing to the plea deal.
A jury in Virginia had convicted Manafort, 69, of eight counts of bank and tax fraud in August stemming from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. That conviction left him facing a maximum of 80 years in prison.
Faced with a second trial in Washington on related charges, a day before jury selection was set to begin in mid-September, Manafort pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts and agreed to “fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly” answer questions about “any and all matters” of interest to Mueller.
In December, Mueller’s team detailed their accusations more fully, alleging that Manafort told “ multiple discernible lies” to them, as well as FBI investigators in the months since he reached a plea deal agreement. “These were not instances of mere memory lapses,” said Mueller’s team in the highly redacted in the court document filed on Dec. 7.
The special counsel’s team said Manafort lied to the FBI about five topics, including about with whom he had communicated.
Days later, District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Mueller’s prosecutors to provide the “underlying evidence” to support their claims that Manafort lied.
Manafort’s defense said at the hearing on Dec. 11 in Washington that they did not have enough information from the government about their client’s alleged lies to respond to their allegations at the time, and the judge ordered the two sides to talk.
Manafort’s team was ordered to decide whether to challenge Mueller’s accusations in a court filing due no later than midnight Jan. 7.
A pre-sentence hearing has been tentatively set for Jan. 25, and Manafort’s sentencing date is scheduled for March 5.
On Feb. 8, Manafort will be sentenced in an Alexandria federal court, where he was found guilty of eight bank and tax fraud charges in August.