Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, sentenced to less than 4 years in prison

Paul Manafort

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 23: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Manafort was indicted last year by a federal grand jury and has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him including, conspiracy against the United States, […]

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (NBC News) — Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced to 47 months in prison Thursday by a federal judge in Virginia on tax and bank fraud charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort, 69, wore a green jumpsuit and white long sleeve shirt and was seated in a wheelchair throughout the proceedings. Before his sentence was imposed, he gave a short statement in which he did not apologize and did not seem to express remorse.

He told the court that he has been humiliated, and asked the judge for “compassion.”

“I have felt punishment during these proceedings,” he said.

The longtime political operative faced between 19-and-a-half to 24 years behind bars, according to federal guidelines. Judge T.S. Ellis called that range “excessive” prior to announcing Manafort’s sentence, and said he “has lived an otherwise blameless life.”

In a sentencing memo to Ellis last month, prosecutors for Mueller called the charges against Manafort “serious, longstanding, and bold,” arguing that the offenses were so serious that “the government has not located a comparable case with the unique array of crimes and aggravating factors.”

“Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars,” prosecutors wrote in the memo. “The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes.”

In August, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, convicted Manafort on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts and two counts of bank fraud. The judge, however, declared a mistrial on the 10 other charges he faced.

Though the trial was the first public test of Mueller’s probe, the charges had nothing to do with Mueller’s main task as special counsel — to discover whether anyone in the U.S. was helping Russia interfere in the election.

Prosecutors built a case that Manafort for years hid millions from U.S. tax authorities in overseas accounts, spending the money to maintain a lavish lifestyle and lying to banks to generate more cash.

Manafort also faces a second sentencing hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C., on March 13.

The judge in that case, Amy Berman Jackson, must decide if Manafort, who turns 70 in April, will serve the two sentences at the same time or whether they must be served consecutively.

In that case, he pleaded guilty in September to two new counts, admitted his guilt to the 10 outstanding counts the Virginia trial and agreed to cooperate with special counsel prosecutors in a deal that would have made him eligible for a lighter sentence. He also agreed to forfeit multiple bank accounts and properties, including his apartment in Trump Tower. However, Judge Jackson since agreed with investigators’ assessment that Manafort lied to them in order to protect a Russian conspirator.

As such, the cooperation deal is off, and he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending stories

Don't Miss

WAVY Twitter Widget

WAVY Facebook