Paul Manafort Sentenced to Almost Four Years in Prison

Minnie Murray
March 8, 2019

The Republican political operative, 69, was found guilty of multiple counts of bank and tax fraud by a federal court past year.

Manafort also still faces sentencing in the District of Columbia in a separate case related to illegal lobbying. The sentence is well short of the 19 to 24 year sentence recommended by prosecutors, but the judge indicated that such a punishment would be excessive, according to news reports.

Speaking to the court before sentencing, Manafort said the judge "bent over backwards" to ensure a fair trial.

At a sentencing hearing, Manafort reportedly wore a green jumpsuit and was in a wheelchair, and he spoke to the court and told the judge, "I know it is my conduct that brought me here".

Manafort's ties to Kilimnik unspooled later in a related case against him in Washington, where Manafort pleaded guilty on September 14 to two conspiracy charges and promised to cooperate with prosecutors.

He initially avoided a second trial after reaching a plea agreement with the Mueller investigation, but that fell apart when prosecutors persuaded a judge that Manafort had been lying rather than co-operating. He did not express remorse for his actions but talked about how the case has been hard for him and his family. He said that "saying I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement". "My life, personally and professionally, is in shambles".

Although none of the convictions which Manafort was sentenced on today involved the former campaign chairman's work for the Trump campaign or the president himself, the conviction was the first real test of Mueller's probe, and are the results of the very first indictment that Mueller handed down in late 2017. Even after his trial and guilty plea, Manafort's legal team had an unusual arrangement with Trump's legal team that gave Trump's team insight into the questions Mueller's team was pursuing. After pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster, prosecutors said, Manafort lied to banks to secure loans and maintain an opulent lifestyle with luxurious homes, designer suits and even a $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket. The sentencing in that case is scheduled for Wednesday.

Prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller's office said Tuesday that Manafort "blames everyone from the Special Counsel's Office to his Ukrainian clients for his own criminal choices".

Trump has also dangled the possibility of pardons for some of those indicted - including Manafort, who he has praised as a "good man" who has been treated unfairly. But the longtime lobbyist was found guilty by a jury in federal court in Virginia of evading taxes and misleading banks, after which he admitted to related conduct in D.C. federal court.

He has used his presentencing court filings to ask Ellis for leniency and to argue that he is sorry, with the hope that his sentence will be light and he can live abiding by the law if he is released.

Attorney Brian Ketcham (L) arrives with other members of the Manafort defense team for a sentencing hearing for his client former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort at U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., March 7, 2019.

"It isn't a crime to have a lot of money and be profligate in your spending", Ellis told prosecutors during the trial.

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