Paul Manafort trial: Federal judge orders sealed hearing over allegations he lied to special counsel
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Friday ordered a sealed hearing on Feb. 2 to resolve allegations that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors working with special counsel Robert Mueller.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said a closed hearing was necessary because some matters needed to remain confidential. She promised a transcript of the hearing will be released as “soon as possible.”
Federal prosecutors say Manafort breached his cooperation agreement by intentionally lying about sharing polling data with a business associate believed to have ties to Russian intelligence.
Defense attorneys dispute that claim, saying that when “placed in the proper context,” his statements merely represent difficult-to-remember facts that occurred years ago or during a high-pressure presidential campaign.
At Friday’s hearing, Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor with Mr. Mueller’s team, told Judge Jackson that he does not intend to try Manafort on criminal charges that were scuttled last year after the longtime GOP operative pleaded guilty to tax fraud and violating foreign lobbying laws.
But Mr. Weissmann said Manafort should no longer get cooperation credit with the special counsel’s office when he is sentenced next month.
Judge Jackson declined to address any issues at the Friday hearing, preferring to hold any decisions for the sealed hearing. She also sought to get the hearing in ahead of Manafort’s sentencing on unrelated financial fraud crimes in Alexandria, Virginia, Feb. 8.
Manafort’s court appearance came just hours after former Trump campaign associate Roger Stone was arrested at his home in Florida. Mr. Stone was accused by the special counsel of obstructing the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.