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.
Special Counsel Mueller’s team asked a judge on Friday to reconsider the conditions of Paul Manafort’s bail in light of additional charges relating to his attempts to influence potential witnesses. It surprised no one when judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail, in fact I was hoping to see a toothbrush in his jacket pocket.
Manafort was not handcuffed as U.S. marshals escorted him out of the courtroom. Pity, it would have made a good image. He did however turn back and wave just before he exited the courtroom.
At a Thursday hearing on Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss criminal charges for acts committed prior to 2014 as beyond the scope of the Mueller’s investigation the Special Counsel’s Office brought out the heavy hitters including Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben.
Posing nonchalantly, one hand on the lectern, the other in his pocket, Alex van der Zwaan received a sentence of thirty days and $20,000. from judge Amy Berman Jackson. Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, is the first person to be sentenced as a result of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.
Note that the person depicted in the above sketch is not van der Zwaan’s father, though he was present in the courtroom.
Beginning with the indictments of thirteen Russian nationals last Friday, Special Counsel Mueller’s team have kept the federal courthouses busy, both in DC and Alexandria. In addition to new charges filed this week were two guilty pleas before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The most significant was Manafort’s partner in crime, Rick Gates, who remained with the Trump campaign throughout the election, and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
The other guilty plea came from a former Skadden lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, who did work for Gates and Manafort. Son-in-law of a Russian billionaire, the 33 year-old van der Zwaan displayed an air of insouciance in court as he yawned and chewed gum.
Reporters covering this story are clocking some hours and miles as the Special Counsel’s investigation moves into high gear, forcing some to grab lunch while standing in line outside the courtroom. Below is a special bonus tiny sketch of Politico’s Josh Gerstein having a bite on the go.