Paul Manafort faces 1st sentencing for financial crimes

Paul Manafort faces 1st sentencing for financial crimes

Manafort's sentencing judge, T.S. Ellis III, ruled that any talk of Russian collusion was off limits during the trial.

In many ways, the Manafort case - which reached back nearly a decade to track the movement of money from his Ukrainian political consulting work, through the time he was broke and working for Trump in 2016 - has shaped Mueller's actions for nearly two years.

The veteran Republican political consultant 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.

Manafort was wearing a green prison uniform that says "ALEXANDRIA INMATE" in white letters on the back. Ellis dismissed efforts by Manafort's defense team to justify a lesser sentence.

This was well below U.S. federal sentencing guidelines, which called for a term of roughly 20 years, though few observers had expected Manafort to receive a sentence that long.

Mueller's office, in a separate sentencing memo, said "while the government does not take a position as to the specific sentence to be imposed here", it believes Manafort "acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars". 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". The charges stemmed from Manafort's political consulting work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.The jury was gridlocked on 10 other fraud charges (one juror cited reasonable doubts). They argued that Mueller went beyond the scope of his mandate to investigate Manafort. While Ellis admitted that before these crimes, Manafort had been "a good friend" and a "generous person, " he stated that this "can't erase" his crimes.

Manafort, 69, spoke to the judge while seated in a wheelchair.

He pleaded guilty in September to two felony counts - conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice - related to his illegal lobbying.

Manafort's lawyers asked for a sentence lighter than the potential maximum of 24 years.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's office filed a new document Tuesday ahead of a sentencing hearing for Manafort later in the week.

Along with Donald Trump Jr and the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner, Manafort was part of a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016.

But Mueller's team said that even though Manafort agreed to cooperate with their investigation, he lied to them about the nature of his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence.

Manafort will be sentenced again next week in a federal court in Washington.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is asking a federal judge for compassion as he awaits sentencing on tax and bank fraud charges. "My life -personally and professionally-is in shambles". Manafort, 69, could receive as much as 24 years in prison for eight felonies, including hiding $55 million overseas, cheating the USA out of more than $6 million in taxes and defrauding banks that lent him money.

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