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

  • New Ukrainian President Zelensky calls early parliamentary polls | Ukraine News

    Ukraine‘s new President Volodymyr Zelensky called.

  • Water supplies restored to besieged Libyan capital Tripoli | Libya News

    Water supplies to the 2.5 million.

  • Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records | Trump News

    A US judge on Monday ruled.

  • North African filmmakers pushing boundaries at Cannes 2019 | France News

    This year’s Cannes Film Festival is.

  • US says warship sails in South China Sea amid trade tensions | News

    The United States military has said.

  • Saudi Arabia ‘seeks to avert war, ready to respond with force’ | News

    Saudi Arabia wants to avert war.

  • Eurovision vs Globalvision: An artistic response | Palestine News

    Bethlehem and London – Palestinian, Israeli.

  • Presidential hopeful Joe Biden calls for unity in inaugural rally | Elections 2018 News

    Former Vice President Joe Biden has.

  • US warns airliners flying over Gulf of ‘misidentification’ | Iran News

    US diplomats warned commercial airliners flying.

  • Australian election: Voting under way in key contest | Australia News

    Melbourne, Australia – Australians are heading.

  • An Iranian building bridges in wall-obsessed America | US & Canada

    A towering artist of his generation,.

  • Taiwan parliament to vote on same-sex marriage legislation | Taiwan News

    Amid deep divisions, Taiwan‘s parliament has.

  • The Philippines’ Duterte: In pursuit of an imperial presidency | Asia

    Although President Rodrigo Duterte‘s name was.

  • Venezuela government, opposition in Norway for crucial talks | News

    Envoys from the Venezuelan government and.

  • Alibaba earnings hint at China’s ability to weather trade war | China News

    China‘s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported.

  • Iran halts some commitments under 2015 nuclear deal | News

    Iran has officially stopped some commitments.

  • PNG assesses damage from magnitude 7.5 earthquake | Papua New Guinea News

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched.

  • Palestinian campaigners call for mass boycott of Airbnb on May 15 | News

    A Palestinian campaign has called on.

  • Spyware discovered targeting phones through WhatsApp calls | News

    Spyware crafted by an “advanced cyber.

  • Senior Palestinian official says she was refused US visa | USA News

    A senior Palestinian official has said she.

  • Sweden to reopen rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Assange | News

    Julian Assange is to be investigated.

  • Small lead for Australian opposition as election nears: poll | Australia News

    Australia‘s opposition Labor Party retains a.

  • Gunmen attack hotel in Pakistan’s Gwadar, kill five people | News

    Islamabad, Pakistan – Gunmen have stormed a.

  • India election 2019: Sixth round of voting under way for 59 seats | India elections 2019 News

    Voters in Delhi and elsewhere in.

  • Houthi rebels begin withdrawal from key ports in Yemen | Yemen News

    Yemen’s Houthi rebels have begun a.

  • Golf ball-sized hailstones and torrential rains hit southern US | News

    Hailstones the size of golf balls.

  • UN: Yemen’s Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah port | News

    Yemen’s Houthi group has unilaterally agreed to.

  • Far-right protesters target Roma family in Rome | Far Right News

    Rome, Italy – Hundreds of Italian.

  • US: Manning freed but ordered to appear before new grand jury | USA News

    Chelsea Manning, an ex-US military intelligence analyst.

  • US seizes North Korean coal vessel accused of violating sanctions | USA News

    In an unusual civil forfeiture action,.

  • Trump says China ‘broke’ trade deal, threatens new tariffs | China News

    President Donald Trump has accused China of.

  • Government forces capture village in rebel-held northwest Syria | News

    Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar.