Paul Manafort has been sentenced to a total of seven and a half years in federal prison after receiving a second punishment on Wednesday as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Last week, the former Trump campaign chairman was sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia to 47 months in prison for his August conviction on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account in relation to his undisclosed lobbying work for the Russian-backed former president of Ukraine.
Wednesday’s sentence in Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s District of Columbia courtroom resulted from Manafort’s September guilty plea to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of witness tampering. Jackson sentenced Manafort to 60 months on the conspiracy count, 30 of which are to run concurrent with the EDVA sentence, and 13 months on the witness tampering.
In total, Manafort is due to serve 17 months separately in the EDVA case, 43 months separately in the District case, and 30 months concurrently in both cases, for a grand total of 90 months in prison.
While Judge T.S. Ellis’ sentence last week was viewed as lenient—falling well below the sentencing guidelines of between 19 and 24 years in prison—Jackson took a firmer hand. During sentencing, Jackson hammered Manafort for his admitted and consistent deceitfulness before the court.
“It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved,” Jackson said.
She also questioned whether he actually demonstrated any remorse for his admitted crimes, which were detailed in a 38-page legal filing as part of his guilty plea and included attempts to conceal millions of dollars in foreign lobbying work from the government. “Saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught’ is not an inspiring plea for leniency,” Jackson said.
Indeed, the reports of Manafort’s appeal to the court prior to his sentencing did not appear to carry much in the way of contrition.
“I can see that I have behaved in ways that did not always support my personal code of values,” Manafort said.
He added that he deserved leniency because being in prison was hard on his family. “Please let my wife and I be together. Please do not take us apart from each other for any longer,” Manafort told the judge. “If not for me, then for my family. I promise that if you do, you will not regret it.”
She also criticized Manafort and his attorneys for attacking the special counsel’s office, noting that the argument appeared to have been made “for some other audience.”
It seems quite possible the audience in question is President Donald Trump, for whom Manafort worked during the campaign and from whom it’s been speculated he is likely seeking a pardon. Manafort had seemed to preclude the possibility of a pardon when he pleaded guilty last September in the D.C. case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for potential leniency, but that deal ended when Jackson ruled that he had continued to lie to prosecutors during that cooperation. Prosecutors alleged that he lied to them about polling results from Trump’s campaign that he had given to Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a former business associate connected to Russian intelligence, and about his then-ongoing cooperation with Trump’s legal team.
Unfortunately for Manafort, even if Trump does decide to pardon him, it will likely do him little good now. Just minutes after Manafort received his D.C. sentence, NBC News reported that Manafort had just been indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Trump might be able to pardon Manafort on the federal charges, but will not be able to pardon him for any state charges out of New York or elsewhere.
As Jed Shugerman has consistently noted in Slate since 2017, Mueller seems to have positioned his charges in the federal case so as to leave the door open for these state charges and prevent Trump from using his pardon power to protect Manafort.
The New York Post reported that the new charges against Manafort in the 16-count New York indictment included “residential mortgage fraud, attempted residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records, and scheme to defraud.”
“No one is beyond the law in New York,” District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. “Following an investigation commenced by our Office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market.”
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