ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s former marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Thursday by a U.S. decide to lower than 4 years in jail – far shy of federal sentencing tips – for monetary crimes uncovered throughout Particular Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s position within the 2016 election.
FILE PHOTO: Former Trump marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a 3rd superseding indictment in opposition to him by Particular Counsel Robert Mueller on expenses of witness tampering, at U.S. District Courtroom in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Picture
U.S. District Choose T.S. Ellis imposed the 47-month sentence on Manafort, 69, throughout a listening to in Alexandria, Virginia during which the veteran Republican political marketing consultant requested for mercy however didn’t categorical regret for this actions. Ellis additionally ordered Manafort to pay a high quality of $50,000.
Manafort was discovered responsible final August by a jury of 5 counts of tax fraud, two counts of financial institution fraud and one depend of failing to reveal overseas financial institution accounts.
Whereas prosecutors had not advisable a particular sentence, they’d cited federal sentencing tips that referred to as for 19-1/2 to 24 years in jail. However Ellis stated the sentencing tips have been extreme and would create “an unwarranted disparity” with different instances.
Ellis additionally famous in the course of the listening to that Manafort “isn’t earlier than the courtroom for any allegations that he, or anybody at his route, colluded with the Russian authorities to affect the 2016 election.”
Earlier than the sentencing, Manafort thanked Ellis for conducting a good trial. He expressed no regret however talked about how the case has been troublesome for him and his household. Manafort, who opted to not testify throughout his trial, instructed the courtroom that “to say I’ve been humiliated and ashamed could be a gross understatement.” He described his life as “professionally and financially in shambles.”
Manafort was convicted after prosecutors accused him of hiding from the U.S. authorities tens of millions of he earned as a marketing consultant for Ukraine’s former pro-Russia authorities. After pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster, prosecutors stated, Manafort lied to banks to safe loans and preserve an opulent way of life with luxurious houses, designer fits and even a $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket.
The decide instructed Manafort: “I used to be shocked I didn’t hear you categorical remorse for participating in wrongful conduct.”
Manafort, with noticeably grayer hair than simply months in the past, was introduced into the courtroom in a wheelchair holding a cane, sporting a inexperienced jail jumpsuit emblazoned with the phrases “Alexandria inmate” on the again. It was a far cry from Manafort’s traditional dapper look and trendy garb. He has been jailed main as much as his sentencing.
The sentence was even lower than what protection legal professionals had sought. That they had requested Ellis to condemn Manafort to between Four-1/Four and 5-1/Four years in jail, writing of their sentencing memo that Mueller’s “try to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is past the pale and grossly overstates the info earlier than this courtroom.”
His protection staff argued he ought to get a lighter sentence as a result of he had agreed to cooperate with the prosecution after he was convicted – although one other decide discovered he breached that deal by repeatedly mendacity to prosecutors – and since his bid to safe a $5.5 million financial institution mortgage on fraudulent premises didn’t really succeed. Ellis rejected these efforts.
Greg Andres, a prosecutor on Mueller’s staff, urged Ellis in the course of the listening to to impose a steep sentence. “This case should stand as a beacon to others that this conduct can’t be accepted,” Andres stated.
Manafort faces sentencing in a separate case subsequent Wednesday in Washington on two conspiracy expenses to which he pleaded responsible final September.
Whereas he faces a statutory most of 10 years within the Washington case, U.S. District Choose Amy Berman Jackson doubtlessly may stack that on high of the sentence imposed within the Virginia case, quite than permitting the sentences to run concurrently.
Manafort is the one one of many 34 folks and three corporations charged by Mueller to have gone to trial. A number of others together with former marketing campaign aides Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump private lawyer Michael Cohen have pleaded responsible, whereas longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone has pleaded not responsible.
Gates, a key witness in opposition to Manafort, has but to be sentenced because of his ongoing cooperation with prosecutors.
Trump, who has referred to as Mueller’s investigation a politically motivated “witch hunt,” has not dominated out granting a presidential pardon to Manafort, saying in November that “I wouldn’t take it off the desk.”
Jackson on Feb. 13 dominated that Manafort had breached his settlement to cooperate with Mueller’s workplace by mendacity to prosecutors about three issues pertinent to the Russia probe together with his interactions with a enterprise associate they’ve stated has ties to Russian intelligence.
Mueller is making ready to undergo U.S. Lawyer Basic William Barr a report on his investigation into whether or not Trump’s marketing campaign conspired with Russia and whether or not Trump has unlawfully sought to hinder the probe. Trump has denied collusion and obstruction and Russia has denied election interference.
The crimes for Manafort was convicted didn’t immediately relate to the 2016 election.
The sentencing capped a surprising downfall for Manafort, a distinguished determine in Republican Occasion circles for many years who additionally labored as a marketing consultant to such worldwide figures as former Angolan insurgent chief Jonas Savimbi, former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Yanukovych.
Manafort labored for Trump’s marketing campaign for 5 pivotal months in 2016 that included the Republican Nationwide Conference the place Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, three of them as marketing campaign chairman.
Ellis had confronted criticism by some within the authorized neighborhood for feedback he made in the course of the trial that have been extensively interpreted as biased in opposition to the prosecution.
Ellis repeatedly interrupted prosecutors, instructed them to cease utilizing the phrase “oligarch” to explain folks related to Manafort as a result of it made him appear “despicable,” and objected to photos of Manafort’s luxurious objects they deliberate to indicate jurors.
“It isn’t against the law to have some huge cash and be profligate in your spending,” Ellis instructed prosecutors in the course of the trial.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Extra reporting by Andy Sullivan and Nathan Layne; Enhancing by Will Dunham