A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to 43 months of additional prison time.
Washington, D.C., federal judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced the 69-year-old Manafort to 60 months in prison on the first of two criminal conspiracy counts lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller.
But 30 of those months will be served concurrently with Manafort’s prior sentence in a separate case, also lodged by Mueller.
Jackson sentenced Manafort to 13 months of consecutive prison time on his second criminal count. Jackson’s final sentence came in below the maximum sentence of 10 years allowed under federal sentencing guidelines.
“I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today,” Manafort told Jackson before she delivered her sentence.
“I will be 70 years old in a few weeks. My wife is 66. She needs me. I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other,” Manafort said in an emotional plea to the judge.
Manafort’s combined sentences will put him behind bars for 7½ years.
Jackson admonished Manafort before delivering her judgment.
“Saying I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency,” Jackson said.
“A significant portion” of Manafort’s career “was spent gaming the system,” she added.
Less than a week earlier, Manafort had been sentenced to 47 months in another case lodged by Mueller in Virginia federal court.
In that case, Manafort was convicted on eight criminal counts including bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to file a foreign bank account report. Federal guidelines suggested Manafort’s crimes warranted a sentence of between 19 and 24 years locked up — a determination Mueller’s prosecutors did not object to.
But federal judge T.S. Ellis sentenced Manafort to less than four years in prison, saying at the sentencing that Manafort had lived an “otherwise blameless life.” Manafort was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, which was the lowest amount provided for by federal guidelines.
Ellis had previously criticized Mueller of lodging the bank fraud charges merely as a way to pressure Manafort into cooperating with the special counsel’s ongoing investigation of Russian interference and possible Trump-campaign collusion during the 2016 presidential election.
At the Virginia sentencing last Thursday, Manafort made a plea for pity from the judge, telling him it “would be a gross understatement” to say he has “been humiliated and ashamed” over his highly publicized involvement in Mueller’s probe.
Mueller’s team has accused Manafort of hiding millions of dollars in income from the U.S. government in offshore accounts, and lying to banks to secure millions of dollars in loans. Much of that money, prosecutors argued, was used to maintain Manafort’s opulent lifestyle.
Jackson said Wednesday morning that her decision “what is happening today is not or can not be a revision of a sentence that is imposed by another court.”
Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy on the eve of his second trial in Washington. He had agreed to cooperate with the Russia probe as part of the deal. But that agreement collapsed after prosecutors accused him of lying to them on multiple subjects.
As in his sentencing last week, Manafort appeared in court in a wheelchair, though he swapped his green prison garb for a dark suit with a purple tie. His attorneys say Manafort has suffered from health issues, including “severe gout,” after Jackson ordered him to jail pending trial after prosecutors accused him of tampering with potential witnesses in the case. Manafort has been held in jail in Alexandria since June.
Jackson ruled on several disputes between the prosecution and the defense before issuing Manafort’s sentence Wednesday.
She denied to amend her ruling from February that Manafort had lied to prosecutors in breach of his plea deal, saying that the special counsel’s office “proved beyond a preponderance of evidence that Mr. Manafort intentionally gave false testimony.”
But Jackson did decide to give Manafort credit for accepting responsibility “given his plea and given his sworn admissions in court.”
Jackson also ruled that an enhancement to sentencing guidelines for having leadership role in criminal activity, laid out in a pre-sentence report, should apply to Manafort.
Prosecutor Andrew Weissman, in remarks to the judge, tried to stress the severity of Manafort’s crimes.
Tampering with witnesses “goes to the heart of the American criminal justice system,” Weissman said. Manafort “served to undermine, not promote, American ideals of honesty, transparency and playing by the rules.”
Weissman said that Manafort violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, not only by submitting a “woefully false and incomplete” filing in June 2017, but by getting “many other people and entities to violate the act.”
Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, argued that the few other FARA violations in recent history have involved conduct that was largely different from Manafort’s.
Downing also said that the extreme level of attention the media has paid to Manafort’s case should be considered in sentencing.
“The media attention, political motivation and disagreement is so unreal in this particular instance and so out of whack with what another case would have looked like if we didn’t have a special counsel,” Downing said.
“But for a short stint as a campaign manager in a presidential election, I don’t think we’d be here today,” he added.
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