Mueller Seeks Tough Sentence for Ex-Trump Campaign Chairman Manafort

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Prosecutors for Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a federal judge in Virginia on Friday to impose a strict prison sentence for President Donald Trump‘s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, after a jury last year convicted him on eight counts of bank and tax fraud.

In their sentencing memo filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, prosecutors said Manafort, who is 69, deserves between 19.6 and 24.4 years in prison and a fine of between $50,000 and $24 million.

“While some of these offenses are commonly prosecuted, there was nothing ordinary about the millions of dollars involved in the defendant’s crimes, the duration of his criminal conduct or the sophistication of his schemes,” prosecutors said in the memo.

“Manafort did not commit these crimes out of necessity or hardship,” they said. “He was well-educated, professionally successful and financially well off. He nonetheless cheated the United States Treasury and the public out of more than $6 million in taxes at a time when he had substantial resources.”

Friday’s court filing in Virginia came just days after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that Manafort had breached his plea agreement in a parallel case by lying to investigators despite a pledge to cooperate.

That finding earlier this week by Judge Amy Berman Jackson in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia could have a direct impact on how Manafort is sentenced in the Virginia case.

Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia, had planned to sentence Manafort on Feb. 8, but he later postponed that until after Jackson’s ruling, saying it “may have some effect on the sentencing decision in this case.”

Manafort was one of the first people in Trump’s orbit to face criminal charges as part of Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to tilt the 2016 presidential election in his favor.

Trump has denied colluding and called the probe a witch hunt, while Russia has denied meddling in the election.

None of the charges Manafort faced related directly to Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

In the Virginia case, prosecutors accused Manafort of hiding from U.S. tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, money he used to fund an opulent lifestyle.

Later, when his lobbying work started to dry up following the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, prosecutors said Manafort began lying to banks to secure $20 million in loans to keep his lifestyle afloat.

After almost four days of deliberations, a 12-member jury found Manafort guilty on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

In September, Manafort pleaded guilty in a parallel case in Washington to attempted witness tapering and conspiring against the United States, a charge that covers conduct including money laundering and unregistered lobbying.

As part of that deal, he pledged to cooperate with the Justice Department. However, prosecutors later said they had caught Manafort in several lies and wanted to tear up the agreement in a move that could cause him to face a much stiffer prison sentence.

Earlier this week, Jackson ruled there was a “preponderance” of evidence that Manafort lied on three different topics, including his communications with his former business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, who prosecutors say has ties to Russian intelligence and helped Manafort try to obstruct justice. Kilimnik has denied such ties.

Specifically, Jackson found that Manafort lied about his interactions with Kilimnik including about the sharing of polling data on the Trump campaign and their discussions over a “Ukrainian peace plan,” a proposal that envisioned ending U.S. sanctions on Russia – long an important objective of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

Prosecutors have said these lies are “at the heart” of their investigation into potential collusion, according to a transcript released last week.

(Reporting by Sarah Lynch and Nathan Layne in Washington; Editing by David Alexander and Leslie Adler)

What do you think?

10 pledges
Upvote Downvote
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mark Swatzki
Member

When is Mueller going to start working on the Clinton foundation?

James
Member

Judicial Watch has been on Hillary’s “case” ever since she was first lady of Arkansas. They now have dozens of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for specific data ever since THEY discovered her illegal email server when she was Sec’y of State. JW calls itself a “Watchdog”. I would submit they are more a “Rabid Pit Bull”. Maybe someone at the DOJ will wake up and do their job now that William Barr is running (NOT ruining) the outfit.

KhyberRifle
Member

If anyone can depoliticize Federal bureaus, agencies, commissions and departments, it’s Barr. He’s a crusty clear thinker without the twink gene. He’ll not capitulate our long held values. He’ll further unmask Mueller and the 13 angry democrats – expose their vulgar circle jerk. He’ll expose those who’d hijack our government’s true north. Like what is required for a terminal, suffering patient, pull the Mueller plug. Redirect those wasted resources to JW’s Weiner party

Mark Swatzki
Member

Don’t bet on it. He is a Bush guy

Mark Swatzki
Member

Don’t hold your breath

Mueller Says Searches Yielded Evidence of Stone-WikiLeaks Communications

Former US Cardinal McCarrick Defrocked for Sex Crimes