Manafort gets 7 years in prison, then faces fresh NY charges

Minnie Murray
March 14, 2019

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been indicted in NY on state charges, seen as a strategy for preventing a potential presidential pardon.

Separately on Wednesday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced that a grand jury in New York City had returned an indictment of its own against Manafort.

Neither proceeding was directly related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 president election and potential collusion between the Kremlin and members of Trump's campaign team, although the charges did arise from those probes.

Jackson has the ability to stack her sentence for Manafort on top of the other judge's, meaning he still could face more than four years in prison. Trump only has the power to clear people of federal crimes, and would be unable to interfere with a prison sentence resulting from the state charges brought by the DA's office.

Both cases stem from an inquiry into alleged Russian election meddling in the 2016 United States elections.

He faced a maximum of 10 years - five years for each of the two conspiracy counts he pleaded guilty to last year in a cooperation deal with prosecutors that later imploded after he was found to have lied.

Manafort faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at his sentencing as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

"On a human basis, it's a very sad day, I feel very badly for him", he told reporters on Wednesday. The Mueller indictment states that Manafort got the apartment for $2.85 million after transferring funds from a company in Cyprus, then falsely claimed it was a second home for his daughter and son-in-law, and used it as an Airbnb rental. "He has not learned a harsh lesson", prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the court, referring to the witness tampering charge.

He undermined the American political process by concealing from the public and Congress that he was working on behalf of Ukraine- and earning millions of dollars that he never reported to the IRS, she said.

Instead, she said they were evidence that Manafort had spent a considerable portion of his career "gaming the system". Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and left in late August of that year amid reports about his payments for his political work in Ukraine.

"I know that it was my conduct that brought me here today".

"This case has taken everything from me, already", he said, naming all his assets now in the government's possession.

In failing health, the wheelchair-bound Manafort apologized to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a Washington courtroom, saying he was ashamed of his actions and pleaded for mercy. It was Jackson who, in 2018, revoked Manafort's bail for witness tampering.

His motivation, she added, was "not to support a family, but to sustain a lifestyle that was ostentatiously opulent and extravagantly lavish - more houses a family can enjoy, more suits than one man can wear".

Trump has declined to say whether he plans to pardon Manafort for the federal convictions.

"I think she will run some of her time consecutively", said Wu, who appeared before Jackson during a previous stint representing Manafort's former business associate Rick Gates.

Manafort started his statement to Jackson by saying that his statement before Ellis last week did not adequately reflect his contrition.

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