WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, asked a federal judge in Northern Virginia on Friday to show leniency when he sentences Mr. Manafort next week, casting him as a loyal, compassionate, idealistic man who has learned a “harsh lesson.”
They said Mr. Manafort, who has been jailed since June, had already suffered greatly for his crimes. At age 69, plagued by health problems, he poses no risk of recidivism, they said.
Their sentencing memorandum, the second they filed this week, was submitted to Judge T.S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va. Judge Ellis will sentence Mr. Manafort on Thursday for tax fraud, bank fraud and other financial crimes. The next week, he will be sentenced by Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a related conspiracy case in United States District Court in Washington, D.C.
Advisory sentencing guidelines set Mr. Manafort’s punishment at 19 to 24 years in the financial fraud case. While they recommended no specific sentence, prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, have said they agreed with that calculation by the federal probation office.
But Mr. Manafort’s lawyers argued that such a punishment would be far too severe, asking for a sentence “significantly below the advisory guidelines.” They cited a string of cases of other defendants who were sentenced to probation or imprisoned for less than a year for similar schemes involving millions of dollars of income hidden away in overseas bank accounts.
They also raised the possibility that Judge Jackson might revise her recent ruling that Mr. Manafort lied to prosecutors after he pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges in September and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. The special counsel’s office has asked Judge Ellis to consider Judge Jackson’s finding when he sentences Mr. Manafort.
This week, citing new information from a cooperating witness, prosecutors appeared to correct one element of their earlier allegations that Mr. Manafort had lied about his contacts with a Russian business associate whom they have linked to Russian intelligence. They said that their revised account should not affect the judge’s ruling.
But Mr. Manafort’s lawyers seized upon the admission of an apparent error, saying the new information “is exculpatory” for Mr. Manafort.