- Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, looks like he might be looking at a lifetime in prison, according to the judge overseeing his case.
- Manafort was put under “24-hour-a-day lockdown” on Friday by the judge.
- Manafort has been charged with dozens of crimes by special counsel Robert Mueller in the ongoing investigation into Russian election interference.
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The district judge assigned to Paul Manafort’s case said the gravity and number of charges against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager means he could possibly spent the rest of his life behind bars, according to Politico.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will be overseeing Manafort’s trial, said Manafort could face grave consequences for his alleged crimes.
“Given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison,” Ellis said of the former campaign manager.
Ellis made the comment in an order he handed down on Friday in which he put Manafort on “24-hour-a-day lockdown” in his Alexandria, Virginia condominium, Politico reported. The judge said he considered Manafort a significant flight risk due to his wealth and the potential consequences of the charges against him.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged Manafort with a over 30 charges including numerous count of bank fraud, tax fraud, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, conspiracy to launder money, lying to the executive branch, and conspiracy against the United States.
Mueller’s most recent indictment document alleges that Manafort, together with his long-time business partner and deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, set up offshore bank accounts that they then failed to disclose to the proper authorities, and laundered over $US75 million through these accounts.
While Gates entered a guilty plea with Mueller last month, Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Following Gates’s flip, Mueller dismissed 20 charges against him, indicating that he may have given Mueller something of high value in his investigation into Russian election interference and Trump’s alleged ties to the country.
Manafort worked for years as a consultant and lobbyist for pro-Russian former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. After Yanukovych’s ouster, Manafort helped to rebrand his party into the Party of Regions, and made it possible for the party to gain more seats than expected in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections.
Manafort was present at a number of important turning points in the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, including the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 which was arranged after a Russian lawyer reached out to Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr. about “dirt” she wanted to offer him about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Manafort’s trial is set to begin in fall, right before the midterm elections.
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