Judge sentences Trump ex-aide Manafort to under four years in prison – media

03:30, 08 March 2019
World
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REUTERS

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Thursday by a U.S. judge to less than four years in prison – far shy of federal sentencing guidelines – for financial crimes uncovered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis imposed the 47-month sentence on Manafort, 69, during a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia in which the veteran Republican political consultant asked for mercy but did not express remorse for this actions, Reuters said.

Ellis also ordered Manafort to pay a fine of $50,000.

Read alsoBloomberg: New York has prepared Paul Manafort charges if Trump pardons him

Manafort was found guilty last August by a jury of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

While prosecutors had not recommended a specific sentence, they had cited federal sentencing guidelines that called for 19-1/2 to 24 years in prison. But Ellis said the sentencing guidelines were excessive and would create “an unwarranted disparity” with other cases.

Ellis also noted during the hearing that Manafort "is not before the court for any allegations that he, or anyone at his direction, colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election."

Before the sentencing, Manafort thanked Ellis for conducting a fair trial. He expressed no remorse but talked about how the case has been difficult for him and his family. Manafort, who opted not to testify during his trial, told the court that "to say I have been humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement." He described his life as "professionally and financially in shambles."

Manafort was convicted after prosecutors accused him of hiding from the U.S. government millions of dollars he earned as a consultant for Ukraine's former pro-Russia government. After pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster, prosecutors said, Manafort lied to banks to secure loans and maintain an opulent lifestyle with luxurious homes, designer suits and even a $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket.

Manafort faces sentencing in a separate case next Wednesday in Washington on two conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty last September.

While he faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in the Washington case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson potentially could stack that on top of the sentence imposed in the Virginia case, rather than allowing the sentences to run concurrently.

Manafort is the only one of the 34 people and three companies charged by Mueller to have gone to trial. Several others including former campaign aides Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen have pleaded guilty, while longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone has pleaded not guilty.

Gates, a key witness against Manafort, has yet to be sentenced due to his ongoing cooperation with prosecutors.

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