Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair, will spend nearly seven more years in prison after a federal judge in Washington, DC, handed down his second sentence out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort on Wednesday to spend 73 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the US government and tamper with witnesses, but a substantial part of that sentence will overlap with a sentence he previously received in Virginia.
Manafort was sentenced to 60 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States, but Jackson said that 30 months of that would run concurrent to the 47-month sentence Manafort already received in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia because the conspiracy involved overlapping criminal activity. She then sentenced him to 13 additional months on the witness tampering count.
Manafort’s total sentence will account for the nine months he’s already spent in pretrial detention. Taking that time served into account, he’ll spend approximately 81 months, or 6.75 years, in prison.
Manafort’s legal troubles aren’t over yet, though. Shortly after Jackson announced her sentence, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced that a grand jury had indicted Manafort on charges related to a residential mortgage scheme. Manafort will be charged in state court in New York. There’s long been speculation that Trump may consider a pardon for Manafort, but that would only apply to federal crimes.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday after the hearing, Trump said he had “not thought about” a pardon for Manafort, according to a pool report.
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. I think it’s a very sad situation. And I saw that just a little while ago. And certainly on a human basis, it’s a very sad thing,” Trump said.
During Wednesday’s sentencing, Jackson slammed Manafort and his lawyers for their focus on the fact that he was not charged in connection with his work on the Trump campaign or accused of colluding with the Russian government. She said that the “non-collusion mantra was a non sequitur,” unrelated to what sentence Manafort should receive, and that his lawyers made the “unsubstantiated” claim that Manafort was only charged with financial crimes predating his campaign work because Mueller’s office couldn’t charge him with anything to do with Russia.
“The defendant’s insistence that none of this should be happening to him … that the prosecution is misguided and excessive and invalid, after this court and the court in the Eastern District of Virginia both found he fell squarely within the special counsel’s mandate, is just one more thing that is inconsistent with a genuine acceptance of responsibility,” Jackson said.
Jackson said that this case was not an “indictment” or “endorsement” of Mueller’s work, and her sentence would not resolve the question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government. She said that arguments in the case had been marked by “passion” and “hyperbole.”
“This defendant is not public enemy number one, but he’s not a victim either,” she said.
She described Manafort as a repeat and un-remorseful offender motivated by greed and a desire to sustain a lifestyle at the most “opulent and extravagant” levels, noting the many homes he bought, and his collection of “more suits than one man can wear.” She said his conduct over the course of the case — from inconsistent information he gave about his assets early on to his efforts to tamper with witnesses after he’d been charged — “appeared to reflect his ongoing contempt for and his belief he had the right to manipulate these proceedings, and the court orders and rules didn’t apply to him.”
Jackson said that Manafort was trying to downplay the seriousness of what he did, particularly with respect to his failure to report his work on behalf of the Ukrainian government — which included lobbying efforts in the United States — to the US government.
“If the people don’t have the facts, democracy can’t work,” the judge said.
Manafort had faced a maximum sentence in DC of 10 years, since the two counts he pleaded guilty to each carried five years.
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