Ex-Trump campaign boss Manafort sentenced to 47 months | Trump News

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians, much less than what was called for under sentencing guidelines.

Paul Manafort, sitting in a wheelchair as he deals with complications from gout, had no visible reaction on Thursday as he heard the 47-month sentence.

While that was the longest to date to come from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, it could have been much worse for Manafort. Sentencing guidelines called for a 20-year-term, effectively a lifetime sentence for the 69-year-old.

Manafort still faces the possibility of additional time from his sentencing in a separate case in the District of Columbia, where he pleaded guilty to charges related to illegal lobbying.

Before Judge TS Ellis III imposed the sentence, Manafort told him that “saying I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement”. But he offered no explicit apology, something Ellis noted before issuing his sentence.




Ex-Trump campaign aide Manafort to cooperate with Russia probe

Manafort steered Trump’s election efforts during crucial months of the 2016 campaign as Russia allegedly sought to meddle in the election through hacking of Democratic email accounts. He was among the first Trump associates charged in the Mueller investigation and has been a high-profile defendant.

But the charges against Manafort were unrelated to his work on the campaign or the focus of Mueller’s investigation: whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians.

A jury last year convicted Manafort on eight counts, concluding that he hid from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) millions of dollars he earned from his work in Ukraine.

Manafort’s lawyers argued their client had engaged in what amounted to a routine tax evasion case, and cited numerous past sentences in which defendants had hidden millions from the IRS and served less than a year in prison.

‘Absolutely no evidence’

Prosecutors said Manafort’s conduct was egregious, but Ellis ultimately agreed more with defence attorneys. “These guidelines are quite high,” Ellis said.

Neither prosecutors nor defence attorneys had requested a particular sentence length in their sentencing memoranda, but prosecutors had urged a “significant” sentence.

Outside court, Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, said his client accepted responsibility for his conduct “and there was absolutely no evidence that Mr Manafort was involved in any collusion with the government of Russia.”

Prosecutors left the courthouse without making any comment.




Donald Trump faces litany of investigations into business practices

Though Manafort hasn’t faced charges related to collusion, he has been seen as one of the most pivotal figures in the Mueller investigation.

Prosecutors, for instance, have scrutinised his relationship with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate US authorities say is tied to Russian intelligence, and have described a furtive meeting the men had in August 2016 as cutting to the heart of the investigation.

Defence lawyers had argued that Manafort would never have been charged if it were not for Mueller’s probe. At the outset of the trial, even Ellis agreed with that assessment, suggesting Manafort was being prosecuted only to pressure him to “sing” against Trump.

Prosecutors said the Manafort investigation preceded Mueller’s appointment.

Bruce Fein, a former justice department official, called Thursday’s prison sentence “exceptionally lenient”.

“The judge has a reputation for disliking special counsels. He thinks they target people and then look for crimes, rather than the other way around,” Fein told Al Jazeera.

“I think you could detect some of his disdain for some of the prosecution itself, where he would interject comments suggesting that he didn’t think certain things had anything to do with Russian collusion – why was the special counsel going after Mr Manafort for things unrelated to Russian collusion.” 


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

Source

more recommended stories

  • Algerians rally for fourth consecutive week against ailing leader | News

    Tens of thousands of Algerians have.

  • What can we expect from Thailand’s March 24 vote? | Asia

    The people of northeast Thailand have.

  • US to see unprecedented spring flooding in coming weeks | News

    The stage is set for unprecedented.

  • Thailand votes: Young voters prepare for Sunday’s election | Thailand News

    Almost 52 million eligible voters in.

  • Pressure mounts as May heads to final EU summit before Brexit | Brexit

    London, United Kingdom – On Thursday, the.

  • Karadzic sentence increased to life for Bosnia genocide: UN | Former Yugoslavia News

    United Nations judges have ordered former.

  • Radovan Karadzic faces final verdict in war crimes case | Former Yugoslavia News

    United Nations appeals judges on Wednesday.

  • ‘Major humanitarian emergency’ after cyclone batters SE Africa | Mozambique News

    Cyclone winds and floods that swept.

  • India-Pakistan cricket row over army caps and politics in sport | Sport

    The controversy around the Indian cricket.

  • Alleged NZ mosque gunman ‘rational’, lawyer says after he’s fired | New Zealand News

    The Australian man accused of shooting.

  • Philippines officially out of the International Criminal Court | News

    The Philippines has officially withdrawn from the.

  • More than 100 detained in Nicaragua’s anti-government protests | Daniel Ortega News

    Managua, Nicaragua – Police have detained.

  • New Zealand mosque attacks: Who were the victims? | News

    They were teachers, engineers and accountants..

  • Australian senator egged after racist comments on New Zealand | New Zealand News

    A far-right Australian senator had to.

  • New Zealand terrorist attack suspect grins in court | News

    The Australian suspect arrested after dozens.

  • New Zealand mosque attacks: What we know so far | New Zealand News

    Two mosques in the city of.

  • Australia Aboriginals win right to sue for colonial land loss | News

    Sydney, Australia – The High Court.

  • ‘Arms are for hugs’: US students march to end gun violence | News

    Washington, DC – Hundreds of students have.

  • Colombia: March in favour of FARC peace accord | Colombia News

    Colombians have rallied in defence of.

  • Brexit vote: UK parliament rejects ‘no-deal’ option | UK News

    London, England – With just over.

  • Hamid Karzai: Taliban and the Afghan government should talk | Afghanistan News

    US officials and Taliban representatives have.

  • US Senate to vote on Saudi-Yemen war resolution | USA News

    The US Senate will vote on.

  • Confederate statue removed in North Carolina city | News

    A North Carolina city removed a.

  • Confederate statue removed in North Carolina city | News

    A North Carolina city removed a.

  • Mahathir says government considering future of Malaysia Airlines | Malaysia News

    The Malaysian government is considering whether.

  • DRC’s Bemba seeks $77m in compensation from ICC | DR Congo News

    Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former vice president and.

  • India-Pakistan railway: Samjhauta Express train service restored | Pakistan News

    The Samjhauta Express also called the.

  • Serb Chetnik gathering in Bosnia’s Visegrad raises alarm | News

    A gathering of supporters of the.

  • Investigators at Ethiopian Airlines crash site look for answers | Ethiopia

    An Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet traveling.

  • Rival rallies held in Caracas as Venezuela crisis intensifies | News

    Thousands of people have once again.

  • Is enough being done to stop misinformation online? | Social media

    “Fake news” is a common cry.

  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: ‘Patriarchy is bad for everybody’ | United Nations

    While the world is electing more.