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Manafort’s New Threads

Paul Manafort, accustomed to $10,000. House of Bijan suits, appeared instead for yesterday’s pre-trial hearing wearing an Alexandria jail issued prisoner jumpsuit. Looking disheveled, the collar of his green jumpsuit turned inside out, the usually dapper Manafort did not look comfortable. Perhaps that is why he has declined to be present in court today as prospective jurors are summoned to fill out questionnaires.

Judge Ellis granted the defense’s request to delay the start of the trial so that they could have more time to review evidence, but only for a week. The trial is now scheduled to begin next Tuesday, July 31.

Life Imitates Art ? The Russian Sparrow

Part “Red Sparrow”, part “The Americans”, the picture painted by the government during yesterday’s detention hearing for alleged Russian agent Maria Butina had elements of a spy thriller. Charged with failing to register as a foreign government agent, Butina, according to the government had ties to Russian intelligence.

A Russian gun rights activist, she came to Washington on a student visa, attended American University, and developed ties to the NRA as well as a personal relationship with a Republican consultant. It was also said that she traded sex “in exchange for a position within a special interest organization.”

Sentencing Dry-Run

An odd hearing yesterday. Last week Judge Emmet Sullivan scheduled a status hearing in United States v. Flynn, ordering the defendant, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, to attend. It was Flynn’s first appearance in court since pleading guilty last year to lying to the FBI.

Apart from the opportunity to sketch Flynn standing before the judge as he presumably will be at sentencing, the hearing yielded little news. Judge Emmet, who was not the judge who took Flynn’s plea, said he called the hearing in part simply to meet the defendant and lawyers. The judge ordered the parties to update him on August 24 but set no date for sentencing.