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Paul Manafort To Serve 7 And A Half Years In Prison In Mueller Cases

It’s the second sentencing for Trump’s former campaign chairman in as many weeks.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON ― A federal judge sentenced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to additional prison time on Wednesday, bringing his total prison sentence in the cases against him to about seven and a half years.

“This defendant is not public enemy No. 1, but he’s not a victim either,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia said before imposing her sentence, which came to just over six years. Some of the sentence will be served concurrently with the sentence imposed against Manafort in Virginia last week.

Manafort, Jackson said, engaged in wrongdoing not just to support his family but to sustain an “opulent” lifestyle, including more homes than one family could enjoy and “more suits than one man can wear.”

The former campaign chair had reached a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in September and pleaded guilty to two counts, one of conspiracy against the U.S. and another of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Manafort had agreed to cooperate with the government, but Mueller’s team later said Manafort lied to the special counsel team several times, and Jackson agreed.

Jackson imposed Wednesday’s sentence after Manafort said he was “sorry” for what he had done and that he had “already begun to change.” He said he was a different person from when he first appeared in court in autumn 2017.

“I can see that I have behaved in ways that did not always support my personal code of values,” Manafort said. Noting that he would soon turn 70, he asked the judge not to keep him away from his wife for any longer than necessary.

The maximum sentence Jackson could impose in the case was 10 years. Wednesday was Manafort’s second sentencing in as many weeks. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Manafort to less than four years in prison last week, a term far below the sentencing guidelines.

Manafort has been jailed since June, when Jackson found he had broken the terms of his bail when he was charged with an additional crime.

Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney, on Wednesday asked Jackson to factor in the press coverage of his client’s case, saying the surrounding “media frenzy” resulted in “a very harsh process” for Manafort.

Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor for Mueller, told Jackson that “something is wrong” with Manafort’s moral compass. He argued that Manafort’s upbringing, education and opportunities could have put him in a position to set an example for the country, but that Manafort chose a different path.

“He served to undermine, not promote, American ideals,” Weissmann said.

Moments after Wednesday’s sentencing, state prosecutors in New York indicted Manafort on multiple counts, including mortgage fraud and conspiracy. The indictment, which had been expected since last month, is understood to be an effort to prevent President Donald Trump from potentially using his pardon power to save Manafort from jail time. While the president can issue pardons for federal crimes, state criminal cases are outside his reach.

Trump has expressed sympathy for his former campaign chairman while distancing himself from Manafort’s crimes. The president has floated the idea of a pardon for Manafort, and the two men’s legal teams had an unusual cooperation agreement that continued even after Manafort agreed to cooperate with the government.

Manafort is one of six Trump associates who have been charged as a result of the Mueller probe. George Papadopoulos served prison time; Michael Cohen has been sentenced; Michael Flynn and Richard Gates are awaiting sentencing; and Roger Stone is awaiting trial.

Nick Robins-Early contributed to this report.

Source: The Huffington Post

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