Paul Manafort’s Lawyers Argue He Has Been Unfairly ‘Vilified’ Before Sentencing

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, fought back Monday against the government’s portrait of their client as a hardened criminal, suggesting that he was facing the prospect of dying in prison only because he had been unfairly caught in the scandal over Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race.

In a sentencing memorandum to the federal judge who will decide his punishment next month for two felonies to which Mr. Manafort pleaded guilty last year, his legal team said his crimes did not warrant a substantial prison term, especially given his age. Mr. Manafort will turn 70 in early April.

Disputing the prosecutors’ damning characterization of Mr. Manafort in a court filing last week, his lawyers insisted that Mr. Manafort was not only deeply remorseful, but “has suffered almost unprecedented public shame” for what they called garden-variety offenses. The memos are previews of the oral arguments that both sides will make before Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who will sentence Mr. Manafort for the two conspiracy charges on March 13.

Judge Jackson’s sentence will come five days after Mr. Manafort is sentenced for eight more felonies he was found guilty of last year in a related financial fraud case before Judge T.S. Ellis III of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. A key question for both sides is whether Mr. Manafort will be allowed to serve the prison terms simultaneously, or whether they will be stacked atop each other.

Mr. Manafort’s lawyers asked that Judge Jackson’s sentence be “significantly below” the 10-year maximum prison term she could impose. But whatever punishment she decides upon, they asked that Mr. Manafort be allowed to serve it concurrently with his sentence in the Virginia case. Under advisory sentencing guidelines, Mr. Manafort could be sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for the financial fraud scheme.

The defense team argued that had the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, never been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the election, “Mr. Manafort might never have been indicted in the District of Columbia.”

Even though Mr. Manafort has admitted his guilt in the conspiracy crimes, they said, Mr. Mueller’s team had pursued him with unusual vigor because he led Mr. Trump’s campaign during a critical period in 2016. He is one of the few defendants, they noted, to have ever been charged with a crime for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist with the Justice Department.

In their sentencing memo, unsealed on Saturday, Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors asked for no specific sentence. But they said that Mr. Manafort had “repeatedly and brazenly” violated a host of laws for more than a decade, that he had admitted to leading a conspiracy that encompassed serious crimes including money-laundering and obstruction of justice, and that he should be sentenced to a substantial prison term.

The defense lawyers dismissed the prosecutors’ argument that Mr. Manafort was likely to commit new crimes unless he received a lengthy sentence. “The special counsel’s attempt to portray him as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts,” they said. Mr. Manafort has been “vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades,” they said.

They also suggested that Mr. Manafort should not be punished more harshly than Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and longtime fixer. Mr. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, five counts of tax evasion, one count of false submissions to a bank and two campaign finance violations.

Source

more recommended stories

  • Edited Pelosi Video vs. the Original: A Side-by-Side Comparison – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Jay Inslee Is Running on Climate Change. The Issue Is Catching On, So Why Isn’t He?

    RAYMOND, N.H. — For years, climate.

  • News Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of the Week’s Headlines

    Did you stay up to date.

  • On Politics: The Trade War Is Here to Stay

    Good Friday morning. Here are some.

  • Hope Hicks Left the White House. Now She Must Decide Whether to Talk to Congress.

    A White House spokesman did not.

  • 2020 Democrats Join McDonald’s Workers Striking Over Wages and Harassment

    As McDonald’s held its annual shareholder.

  • Sanders’s Education Plan Renews Debate Over Charter Schools and Segregation

    When Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a.

  • Trump Administration to Announce Farm Aid to Ease Pain of Trade War

    He reached out to Canadian and.

  • Pentagon to Build Temporary Shelter for 7,500 Migrant Adults Facing Deportation

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said on.

  • On Politics: Trump Blows Up Meeting With Democrats

    • New York State lawmakers approved.

  • U.S. Yet to Find Evidence of New Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

    WASHINGTON — The United States has.

  • Michael Avenatti Is Charged With Stealing Nearly $300,000 From Stormy Daniels

    Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged the.

  • Trump’s Battles: Today’s State of Play

    congress and the presidency As Democrats.

  • Gillibrand Proposes Huge Investments in Maternal Health, Child Care and Education

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential campaign on.

  • On Politics: Trump May Impose Limits on Chinese Maker of Surveillance Tech

    Good Wednesday morning. Here are some.

  • Anita Hill Worries Female 2020 Candidates Are ‘Not Being Taken Seriously’

    Mr. Biden spoke with Ms. Hill.

  • U.S. Says Syria’s President May Be Using Chemical Weapons Again

    WASHINGTON — The State Department said.

  • Kentucky Has a Primary Election Today. Here’s What to Watch.

    Voters in Kentucky are choosing their.

  • ‘Our Subpoenas Are Not Optional,’ Nadler Warns McGahn – Video

    By REUTERS | May. 21, 2019.

  • As McGahn Prepares to Defy Subpoena, Democrats’ Anger Swells

    WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee.

  • Lawmakers Break Ramadan Fast on Capitol Hill

    WASHINGTON — As the House’s day.

  • Fox News Welcomes Pete Buttigieg. Trump and ‘Fox & Friends’ Aren’t Pleased.

    Mr. Hume added, “Oh, and covering.

  • Impeachment Appeal Pushes Justin Amash From G.O.P. Gadfly to Insurgent

    Calls to the congressman’s cellphone and.

  • Student Debt Facts: The Average College Senior Owes $29,000

    On Sunday, Robert F. Smith, a.

  • Google Restricts Huawei’s Access to Android After Trump Order

    LONDON — The Chinese technology giant.

  • Google Restricts Huawei’s Access to Android After Trump Order

    LONDON — The Chinese technology giant.

  • On Politics: Trump and Kushner Raised Flags at Deutsche Bank

    • In an analysis, Peter Baker.

  • Social Media Pollution, a Huge Problem in the Last Election, Could Be Worse in 2020

    It’s unlikely you have heard of.

  • Trump and the Four-Letter Presidency

    He has either coarsened the public.

  • Trump to Open Middle East Peace Drive With Economic Conference

    WASHINGTON — The White House announced.

  • Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Suspicious Activity in Trump and Kushner Accounts

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Anti-money laundering specialists.

  • Why Trump Can’t Get Enough of the Rose Garden

    The Rose Garden has been a.