- Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced to 47 months in prison at a sentencing hearing in the first of two criminal cases against him.
- Federal sentencing guidelines call for 19 to 24 years for the crimes Manafort was convicted of, but the judge said those guidelines were “excessive” in this case.
- Thursday’s hearing came after Manafort was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud in Virginia.
- Next week, he will be sentenced in the second case in Washington, DC, where he could get as much as an additional decade in prison after a federal judge voided his plea deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller.
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced to 47 months in prison at a sentencing hearing before US District Judge T.S. Ellis in Virginia on Thursday.
Manafort was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud last year after the special counsel Robert Mueller indicted him as part of the ongoing Russia investigation. Federal sentencing guidelines call for 19 to 24 years of prison time for the crimes Manafort was found guilty of, but Ellis called those guidelines “excessive” on Thursday.
Manafort’s lawyers pointed out at the hearing that he claimed responsibility for some of his actions. Ellis also noted that Manafort had spent 50 hours talking to prosecutors after striking a plea deal with Mueller’s office.
But Greg Andres, a prosecutor on Mueller’s team, pushed back on Ellis’ assessment.
“It wasn’t information we didn’t know,” Andres said. “The reason he met for 50 hours was because he lied.”
Prosecutors also charged Manafort with additional counts of money laundering, conspiracy, failure to register as a foreign agent, and false statements in a second indictment brought in Washington, DC.
Instead of going to trial in the second case, Manafort struck a plea deal with Mueller’s office and pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and obstruction. But US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the Washington, DC, case against Manafort, nullified the deal after the court determined that Manafort had lied to prosecutors and violated his plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.
On Thursday, Manafort addressed the court before Ellis ruled on his sentence.
“Humiliated and shunned would be a gross understatement,” Manafort said. “My life, personally and professionally, is in shambles.”
Manafort also said faith and prayer helped him weather the public firestorm surrounding his case, and he told Ellis, “I ask you to be compassionate.” He did not explicitly express remorse for the crimes he was convicted of, but he said he was “ashamed.”
Jackson is set to sentence Manafort in the second case next week, in which he could get as much as an additional decade in prison.
Jackson will also decide whether Manafort’s sentences will run concurrently or consecutively. Manafort, who will turn 70 this year, could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Prosecutors have urged the court to impose a harsh sentence on the former Trump campaign chairman, calling him a “bold” and “hardened” criminal whose actions warrant a tougher punishment.
Manafort’s conduct, even after he pleaded guilty to two federal crimes, “reflects a hardened adherence to committing crimes and lack of remorse,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo, adding that he “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law.”
They added that Manafort not only engaged in criminal conduct leading up to his first indictment, but his actions also “remarkably went unabated even after indictment.”
“The sentence in this case must take into account the gravity of this conduct, and serve both to specifically deter Manafort and generally deter those who would commit a similar series of crimes,” the memo said.
Manafort’s lawyers, meanwhile, have downplayed the severity of his conduct and accused Mueller of “spreading misinformation” to “vilify” Manafort.
Noting that he was a first-time, nonviolent offender, defence attorneys wrote that Manafort accepted responsibility for two counts of conspiracy and obstruction, and he “admitted his guilt with respect to the conduct involved in the remaining charges in this case.”
Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates were first indicted in October 2017 on several counts of money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent, failure to report foreign bank accounts, and false statements.
A superseding indictment in February 2018 charged Manafort with tax and bank fraud related to his political consulting and lobbying work for the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian interests in the region.
In June 2018, Manafort and the former Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik were charged with additional counts of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice after prosecutors accused them of attempted witness tampering.