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Posted by on Mar 7, 2019 in Law, Politics | 0 comments

Manafort Sentenced to 47 Months in 1 of 2 Cases Against Him

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Many believe former Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort got off light with his sentence of 47 months in prison. But he has another sentencing soon with a Virginia judge who many expect will be far less lenient. The decision:

Paul Manafort, the political consultant and Trump presidential campaign chairman whose lucrative work in Ukraine and ties to well-connected Russians made him a target of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on Thursday in the financial fraud case that left his grand lifestyle and power-broker reputation in ruins.

The sentence in the highest-profile criminal case mounted by the special counsel’s office was far lighter that the 19- to 24-year prison term recommended under advisory sentencing guidelines. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., said that although Mr. Manafort’s crimes were “very serious,” following the guidelines would have resulted in an unduly harsh punishment.

A team of Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors sat glum-faced while Judge Ellis delivered his decision. Mr. Manafort, who suffers from gout and came to the hearing in a wheelchair with his foot heavily bandaged, had asked the judge for compassion. “To say I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement,” he said in a barely audible voice, reading from a laptop.

Of the half-dozen former Trump associates prosecuted by Mr. Mueller, Mr. Manafort garnered the harshest punishment yet in the case that came to a conclusion on Thursday — the first of two for which Mr. Manafort is being sentenced this month. While prosecutors sought no specific sentence, they spent much of the three-hour hearing sparring with the judge over the evidence.

For nearly two years, prosecutors pursued Mr. Manafort on two tracks, charging him with more than two dozen felonies, including obstruction of justice, bank fraud and violations of lobbying laws. While they ultimately won Mr. Manafort’s agreement to cooperate, prosecutors said on Thursday that Mr. Manafort provided little information of value for their inquiry into Russia’s election interference and the degree of involvement by Trump associates.

The Daily Beast:

Paul Manafort got a sharply reduced sentenced of 47 months for fraud on Thursday—from a federal judge who said the political operative known as the “torturers’ lobbyist” had lived an “otherwise blameless life.”

The guidelines called for a sentence of 19 to 24 years, but Judge T.S. Ellis said that was “excessive” and gave President Trump’s former campaign chair less than four years for a series of financial crimes linked to his business.

Before learning his fate, Manafort, 69, sat in a wheelchair and whined that he had been “shamed and humiliated” by scandal.

“The past two years have been the most difficult of my life,” Manafort said, dressed in a green jail jumpsuit that was in stark contrast to the $15,000 ostrich jacket that was one of the exhibits at his trial.

“The person that the media has described me as is not someone I recognize. To say I have been humiliated and shamed would be a gross understatement.

“The greatest pain I feel is the pain of my family. I thank my family for their outpouring of support. I have had much time to repent. I ask you for your compassion.”

It remains to be seen how much time Manafort will end up serving. He faces a second sentencing in another court, and prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office have accused him of angling for a pardon from Trump.

The judge had been critical of Mueller’s team from the start of the case—at one point accusing them of using the indictment to “tighten the screw” on Manafort and get him to cooperate with their probe of possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.

Some reaction on Twitter: