Manafort gets additional 3½-year sentence
by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/13/19, 01:54 pm
WASHINGTON—Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a sentence Wednesday of 3½ additional years in prison for crimes related to his work as a political lobbyist in Ukraine. The punishment is on top of a 47-month sentence Manafort received last week, bringing his total prison time to 90 months, or 7½ years. “It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said at the Wednesday sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C.
Investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office uncovered Manafort’s crimes while looking into Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They referred their findings to federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Va.
Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of corruption charges in his Washington, D.C., case last fall, then agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation in hopes of a reduced sentence. But prosecutors said he violated the plea deal by lying to investigators about his Russian contacts. Sentencing guidelines for the conspiracy charges recommended five years each.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Wednesday that Manafort “deserved a lot more, but the sentence today really was an effort to be fair,” Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted. Mueller’s office has not accused Manafort of conspiring with Russians to influence the election, and he committed the crimes before he worked on the Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has not dismissed the possibility of a pardon for Manafort. On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president would “make a decision when he is ready.”
Minutes after Manafort’s sentencing, New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced Manafort was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy. The charges relate to a multimillion-dollar residential mortgage fraud scheme. Trump can pardon federal charges, but he likely would be unable to exercise similar power over state charges.
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Harvest is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a reporter for WORLD.