The government just submitted a request to modify the deadline Judge Amy Berman Jackson set to give Paul Manafort and Rick Gates notice of other crimes or bad acts it will introduce at trial, what is called a Rule 404(b) notice. Currently, they have to provide that notice on April 6, but the judge is now considering a September rather than a May trial date, so prosecutors want to bump the 404 notice back accordingly.
Mueller’s prosecutors don’t want to give Manafort and Gates more than a couple months notice of the other crimes they’re going to unload during the trial. They also note that if they give notice in April, they may have to provide multiple notices as they learn of other bad acts.
Premature disclosure raises issues as well. For example, in declining to require disclosure that is too early, courts have recognized that “the evidence the government wishes to offer may well change as the proof and possible defenses crystallize.”
For similar reasons, early disclosure can result in multiple Rule 404(b) notices and multiply the rulings that a court needs to make, thus undermining the efficient use of judicial and party resources.
The government wants to wait until 8 weeks before the trial before giving notice.
At least two things appear to be going on here. First, Mueller doesn’t want to tip his hand to the many crimes it has found Manafort implicated in. Perhaps, he also wants to avoid making other obvious allegations about Manafort and Gates to preserve their credibility when they flip on the President and his family. But it also seems to suggest Mueller expects he’ll be finding other crimes Manafort and Gates committed for the next 8 months.