What You Need to Know: Paul Manafort

Mueller investigation: Schiff prepared to sue Trump administration if report isn't released

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for former President Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was submitted Friday and parts of it were made public Saturday.

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Mueller’s team filed its recommendation for Manafort’s punishment in one of his two criminal cases, but U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson says it contains sensitive information that prosecutors want to keep secret. 

Update 1 p.m. EST, Feb. 24: The Associated Press reported top Democrat and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he is prepared to sue if Mueller’s full report on his investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump associates to sway the 2016 election.

“We will take it to court if necessary,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.” “If he were to try to withhold, to try to bury any part of this report, that will be his legacy and it will be a tarnished legacy. So I think there’ll be immense pressure not only on the department, but on the attorney general to be forthcoming.”

Update 3:30 p.m. EST, Feb. 23: Robert Mueller has recommended a U.S. District Court judge not be lenient when sentencing Paul Manafort, according to an 800-page sentencing memo made public Saturday.

In the memo, Mueller alleges Manafort “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law” and shows a “hardened adherence to committing crimes,” the Washington Post reported.

Mueller didn’t recommend a specific sentence for Manafort, but noted that federal guidelines call for a sentence of 17 to 22 years. However, under Manafort’s guilty plea, the statutory maximum he faces is 10 years, according to the Washington Post. The special counsel said they may ask Judge Amy Berman Jackson to order a sentence that runs consecutive to whatever sentence Manafort receives in Virginia federal court.

"Based on his relevant sentencing conduct, Manafort presents many aggravating sentencing factors and no warranted mitigating factors,” Mueller wrote.

Manafort is set to be sentenced March 8 in Virginia, and will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on March 13.

Original report:

The midnight deadline for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office to make recommendations about the sentencing for Paul Manafort passed Friday night, but the report was not publicly released as of Saturday morning. 

Manafort, President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, pleaded guilty to several charges last year. 

Prosecutors may have sent the document to Judge Amy Berman Jackson under seal, with proposed redactions, CNN reported Saturday. It would then be up to Jackson to decide what happens next.

Prosecutors were expected to file the sentencing memo in federal court in Washington, where Manafort pleaded guilty in September to charges including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation 

Manafort agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s team as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors; however, authorities later said Manafort lied to investigators. Prosecutors are not expected to recommend leniency for him.

Manafort’s attorneys will have until midnight Monday to file their own sentencing memo. A judge is expected to hand down Manafort’s sentence March 13 at a 9:30 a.m. hearing before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

>> Judge rules Paul Manafort intentionally lied after agreeing to cooperate

In a separate case that also stemmed from Mueller’s investigation, a jury in Virginia found Manafort guilty last summer of tax and bank fraud charges in a case related to work he and an associate did for pro-Russia political forces in Ukraine. Prosecutors last week recommended Manafort serve between 19.5 and 24.5 years in prison and be fined as much as $24 million for those crimes.

Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in that case during a 9 a.m. hearing March 8 before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, according to a court filing.

>> Mueller recommends Paul Manafort be sentenced to 19.5-24.5 years in prison and $24M fine

Last month, defense attorneys said Manafort has been kept in solitary confinement for his own safety. He’s had severe gout for several months of his incarceration, according to his attorneys, and it’s sometimes been severe enough to require him to use a wheelchair.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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