Paul Manafort, who served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager for several months in mid-2016, was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 47 months in jail for tax and bank fraud.
Edited by: JV Staff
According to a CNN report, Judge TS Ellis ordered Paul Manafort to pay at least $6 million in restitution to the government. He must also pay a $50,000 fine. Manafort was also ordered to serve three-years supervised release on top of his 47-month sentence.
Judge Ellis said he believed the recommended sentence of 19 to 24 years would be “excessive” for Paul Manafort.
CNN reported that before handing down his sentence, Ellis noted Manafort “lived an otherwise blameless life,” and was a good friend and generous person to others. That doesn’t erase his crimes however, Ellis said. Manafort will receive a second sentence next week from a different federal judge for the two crimes he pleaded guilty to last year — witness tampering and conspiracy related to his illegal Ukrainian lobbying and money laundering.
Manafort spoke briefly about how prayer and faith helped get him through this time. “I know it is my conduct that brought me here,” he said. “My life —personally and professionally — is in shambles.” “I ask you to be compassionate,” Manafort told Judge TS Ellis, according to the CNN report.
Manafort, who spoke from a wheelchair, also thanked Ellis for his fairness. He went on to tell Ellis that he “bent over backwards” to give a fair trial. “Thank you for a fair trial,” Manafort said.
Manafort did not specifically express remorse for his crimes, but he said he felt “humiliated and shamed.”
Sentencing guidelines suggest a judge could have sent Manafort to prison for between 19 and 24 years.
Manafort’s lawyers had argued for a lighter punishment, saying he has suffered health problems and has seen his reputation and finances harmed by his high-profile prosecution. Prosecutors countered that the prison time guidelines were appropriate, and that Manafort should also have to pay a fine ranging from $50,000 to $24 million.
A jury convicted Manafort in December on eight felony counts for hiding income from U.S. tax authorities money he earned while working as a lobbyist in Ukraine.
Another figure in Trump’s orbit, former personal attorney Michael Cohen, is scheduled to start a three-year prison term in May for campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.
Cohen testified Wednesday for the fourth time before a congressional panel, answering more questions from lawmakers about his decade serving as Trump’s fixer.
Cohen once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, but as Cohen has turned against the president, lawmakers are probing his role in helping Trump become the country’s 45th president.
One focus is the combined $280,000 in hush money Cohen paid or arranged to an adult film actress and a Playboy model shortly before the 2016 presidential election to keep them quiet about affairs they allege they had with Trump more than a decade ago.
In addition, lawmakers are investigating Cohen’s role in his admitted lying to Congress two years ago when he testified that Trump’s efforts to build a Moscow skyscraper ended in early 2016. Now Cohen says that talks about a Russian deal actually extended months longer, even as Trump was telling voters he had no Russian business deals.
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