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Friday, October 23, 2020

Manafort’s sentence now 7.5 years but new indictments emerge

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Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is booking photo in Alexandria, Virginia, (Alexandria Sheriff’s Office/Handout)

Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson Wednesday added 43 months to former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort’s sentence of four years handed down last week, but she made 30 of those months “concurrent” with the 47 months sentence received last week, which brings his time behind bars to five years for his string of crimes.

But more trouble for Manafort emerged in New York Wednesday when that state indicted him on 16 counts of mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy.  Convictions on those charges could add even more tie.

For Manafort, the additional prison time for could be a life sentence for the 69-year-old political consultant whose schemes made him millions but also brought a sudden downfall.  He appeared in court in a wheelchair, suffering from gout and associates say his health is failing.

“This defendant is not public enemy number one, but he’s also not a victim either,” Jackson said during the sentencing Wednesday. “There’s no question this defendant knew better, and he knew exactly what he was doing.”

Even with the additional sentence on other federal charges, Manafort could have faced more than three decades behind bars.  Both sentences this week fell below federal sentencing guidelines for the charges.

The New York indictments are not eligible for pardons by president Donald Trump if they bring convictions.

Judge Jackson said Manfort deserved prison time for “lying to the American people and the American Congress…It is hard to overstate the number of lies and amount of money involved.”

“His work was corrosive to faith in the political process, both in the United States and abroad,” said prosecutor Andrew Weissmann. “He served to undermine, not promote, American ideals of honesty, transparency and playing by the rules.”

Manafort’s convictions that led to Wednesday’s sentences included tampering with witnesses, tax evasion and fraud.

“I accept responsibility for the actions that led me to be here today, and I want to apologize for all I contributed to the impacts on people and institutions,” Manafort told the court Wednesday. “While I cannot change the past, I can work to change the future,”

When defense attorney Kevin Downing asked for leniency, saying Manafort showed remorse at the hearing Wednesday, Judge Jackson fired back: “Saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught’ is not an inspiring call for leniency.”

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