Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Manafort faces up to 10 years at second sentencing in 6 days

Manafort Is Handed His Second Sentence After Pleading With Judge to Think of His Family Source Dana Verkouteren via AP
Leonard Rios | 14 March, 2019, 07:03

Before the ruling, Manafort said he was "sorry" and pleaded with Judge Amy Berman Jackson to think of his family as she considers what sentence to hand him for his tax and bank fraud charges, and foreign lobbying violations.

Jackson sentenced Manafort, a veteran Republican political operative who earned millions of dollars working for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine, for two conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty in September 2018 in Washington.

Last week, in a federal court in Virginia, Manafort was sentenced to almost four years in prison (47 months) in a separate case, involving bank and tax fraud.

On top of the 47 months term he received last week, Manafort could have faced an additional 10 year sentence on Wednesday in Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump election campaign and Russian Federation.

Manafort has asked for mercy given his age and fragile health, while arguing that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III prosecuted him in fruitless pursuit of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

Gates reached his own cooperation agreement with prosecutors and was the government's star witness in the Virginia case past year.

It also comes as expectations grow that Mueller will soon wrap up his 22-month-old investigation by submitting a final report on his findings to Attorney General William Barr.

Minutes after Manafort's federal sentence was imposed, NY prosecutors unsealed a 16-count indictment accusing him of giving false information on mortgage loan applications.

Hanging over the Manafort saga is the possibility that Trump could free Manafort by pardoning him.

Manafort can not receive a presidential pardon for state crimes.

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"'No one is beyond the law in New York", Vance said in a statement.

If convicted in New York, Manafort, 69, could not hope for a presidential pardon on those state charges - which are separate from the federal cases for which Manafort has already been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Mr Trump has not ruled out a presidential pardon for Manafort, and after last week's sentencing said "I feel very badly" for his former aide. "No collusion", the president added. Trump only has the power to clear people of federal crimes, and would be unable to interfere with a prison sentence resulting from the state charges brought by the DA's office.

Manafort's attorneys have said in court filings, and repeated after his Virginia sentencing, that he was never accused of collusion or any Russia-related crimes.

Paul Manafort was charged with two counts of conspiracy related to money laundering, unregistered lobbying and witness tampering, to which he had pleaded guilty. But they're rich, she said, so they can deal.

The political environment since Manafort's indictment has been "very harsh", attorney Kevin Downing told the judge.

The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand (an MSNBC contributor) tweeted that Kevin Downing, one of Manafort's lawyers, "is saying that Judge ABJ found that there was no evidence of Russian Federation collusion" and that protestors responded, "That's not what she said".

"I know that it was my conduct that brought me here today. Please let my wife and I be together", Manafort said.

He added, "T$3 he miscarriage of justice, as I've called it repeatedly, really occurred in the Eastern District of Virginia, not today in her courtroom".

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