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Trump campaign ex-chief Manafort to be sentenced later Thursday

08 March 2019

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months for tax and bank fraud in federal court Thursday.

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Thursday to almost four years in prison by a US judge for financial crimes uncovered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

Judge T.S. Ellis III imposed the sentence, capping the only jury trial following indictments stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Manafort was found guilty in August 2018 of eight financial crimes in a trial that came as part of the special counsel's investigation into Trump associates.

Manafort will receive a second sentence next week from a different federal judge for the two crimes he pleaded guilty to previous year, witness tampering and conspiracy related to his illegal Ukrainian lobbying and money laundering.

Paul Manafort to be sentenced in Va. court

Manafort has also been charged in Washington with money laundering, witness tampering and other offences and faces separate sentencing in that case.

Prosecutors also believe Manafort still poses a risk of recidivism, noting that he lied to the government and the grand jury as recently as past year.

Federal sentencing guidelines had called for a term of roughly 20 years, but few observers had expected he would receive a sentence that long.

The Virginia case was the first trial of charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether there was coordination or collusion by the Trump campaign.

The case was one of two Mueller prosecutions of Manafort.

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Their client, they said, acknowledges that he received a fair trial, accepts the jury's verdict and is "truly remorseful for his conduct".

He added, "I ask you to be compassionate".

"The Special Counsel's attempt to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts before this court", his lawyers wrote in their sentencing memo.

They said Manafort engaged in a scheme to hide tens of millions of dollars from the federal government by hiding money overseas, evading taxes, and defrauding several financial institutions.

The government says Manafort's misconduct involved more than $16 million in unreported income, more than $55 million hidden in foreign bank accounts and more than $25 million secured through lies to banks.

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Manafort, his black hair gone gray, appeared in court in a green prison jumpsuit and remained seated in a wheelchair. They say that he has shown no remorse and that he still owes $6 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Prosecutors have painted the former Trump campaign chairman as an incorrigible cheat who must be made to understand the seriousness of his wrongdoing.

They request a sentence "substantially below" the guideline's range of 19.5 to 24 years. Jackson's ruling could have an impact on the severity of his sentence in both cases.

At one court hearing, prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said a meeting between the two men at a cigar bar in Manhattan on August 2, 2016, goes "very much to the heart" of Mueller's investigation, though he provided no details.

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Trump campaign ex-chief Manafort to be sentenced later Thursday