Paul Manafort Faces Second Sentencing Hearing

Leroy Wright
March 14, 2019

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to an additional three and one-half years of prison, questioning his remorse and rebuking him for his crimes and years of lies.

The sentence followed a scathing assessment by the judge and a prosecutor of Manafort's crimes. "It is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass, that someone in that position would choose to make that decision at that moment".

"Please let my wife and I be together", he said, playing the age card; he is about to turn 70. "I ask you to think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate". He admitted that he had concealed from authorities the work he was doing for political clients in Ukraine and that he had schemed with a partner to try to persuade potential jurors to lie about it. But prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said during the hearing that Manafort had engaged in an extensive cover-up that deceived the United States government and the American public, and continued to try to undermine the investigation even after he pleaded guilty.

Manafort eventually pleaded guilty in the D.C. case, after losing at trial in Virginia and being accused of witness tampering while awaiting trial in D.C. He agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation of Russian election interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's possible involvement.

It comes a week after the 69-year-old was given a 47-month prison sentence for fraud in a separate case.

At his sentencing hearing, Manafort said he was sorry for what he had done.

Manafort, who has a condition called gout, entered Jackson's courtroom in a wheelchair.

If convicted, Manafort could face years in prison.

Veteran GOP operative and self-described "dirty trickster" and "Nixonite" Roger Stone was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on January 25 on charges that include witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

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She took an apparent shot at Ellis, who had said Manafort had lived an "otherwise blameless life".

Jackson told Manafort still is not being straight with the court which, she told him pointedly, is one of those places where facts still matter. Thirty months of that sentence will run concurrently with the sentence handed down in the Virginia case.

Manafort and his attorneys argued that he hadn't knowingly engaged in a pattern of deception with the prosecutors in the case and that his cooperation agreement should stay in force - that he should get credit for his plea and for the information he had given the government.

A federal judge had minutes earlier determined Manafort will spend a total of 7.5 years in federal prison for a decade's worth of financial and lobbying crimes and obstruction of justice.

Mueller is preparing to submit to U.S. Attorney General William Barr a report on his investigation into whether Trump's campaign conspired with Russian Federation and whether Trump has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe. Jackson made a point of saying that this case had nothing to do with collusion, and does not reach any conclusion as to whether collusion did or did not take place.

Manafort was facing up to 10 years in prison in the D.C. case, which stemmed from alleged money laundering in connection with money Manafort earned for political work in Ukraine.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 counts, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

This is a developing story and will be updated with additional information.

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