A federal judge has sentenced President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort to just 47 months in prison for defrauding banks and the government, and failing to pay taxes on millions of dollars he earned from Ukranian political consulting.
Big disappointment for prosecutors who had argued that Manafort deserved 19 to 25 years in the slammer for his crimes, for which a jury convicted him after trial last summer. They noted Manafort showed no remorse and lied under oath following a plea deal after the trial, prosecutors wrote this week to the judge in Alexandria, Virginia.
Ellis, however, said he thought the prosecutors recommendation excessive, and that, despite his years of criminal behavior, Manafort had led in “otherwise blameless” life.
The eight crimes for which Manafort will serve 47 months include: five convictions of tax fraud from 2010 through 2014, hiding his foreign bank accounts from federal authorities in 2012, and defrauding two banks for more than $4 million in loans intended for real estate.
The charges came out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Judge T.S. Ellis ordered Manafort to pay restitution of $6M-$25M, and undergo three years of supervised release after his nearly four years in jail.
Manafort still has another reckoning, in Washington D.C. court. He will be sentenced next week by a different federal judge for the two crimes he pleaded guilty to last year: witness tampering and conspiracy related to his illegal lobbying and money laundering.
Manafort, who previously served as a lobbyist for international politicians, joined Trump’s campaign in March of 2016, was promoted to campaign chairman in May and served in that capacity from May until August 2016.
Manafort was among those who attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who’d promised compromising intel on Dem candidate Hillary Clinton.
FBI agents raided Manafort’s home in July of 2017, looking for documents connected to that Trump Tower meeting, leading to the first set of indictments against him and his associate Rick Gates in October of ’17. Gates pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Prosecutors divvied up Manafort’s case, putting the financial crimes indictment into the Virginia federal court.
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