Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Friday set a closed-door hearing for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort next month to hear arguments about whether he's lied to government investigators.
At issue is whether Manafort lied to investigators after he struck a plea deal for a lesser prison sentence. Mueller is expected to provide evidence that shows Manafort knowingly misled prosecutors about the nature of discussions with a longtime business associate who's been identified as a former Russian intelligence officer.
They will also discuss a $125,000 payment that lines up with money he received from one of Trump's political action committees.
Jackson said the February meeting will be important in her judgement as to whether Manafort lied after taking the plea deal, and promised to make the restricted hearing as transparent as possible.
"I know everyone in the courtroom who is here does not want that to be the case, but we will do our best to get as much of the transcript released as soon as possible," Jackson said.
Manafort, who is already serving prison time, has skipped most of his court appearances but was ordered to be at Friday's court hearing because of "significance of the issues at stake." He was transported from his jail cell in Alexandria, Va., to downtown Washington, D.C.
Jackson agreed to allow Manafort to wear a suit to the hearing instead of his prison jumpsuit he's worn in the past. He was in a wheelchair for his last court appearance because of an ailment resulting from his incarceration. His attorney didn't elaborate.
If found guilty of breaching his plea deal, Manafort could get as many as 80 years in prison, though experts say the final punishment would likely be closer to seven years.