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Paul Manafort given 3 1/2 more years of prison time

14 March 2019

"I am sorry for what I have done and all the activities that have gotten us here today", Manafort told the court. "While I can not undo the past, I will ensure that the future will be very different".

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, departs an arraignment hearing in Alexandria, Va., on March 8, 2018. Those charges also included counts of mortgage and bank fraud.

Manafort's case is the highest-profile yet stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In the 16-count indictment, Manafort faces raps for residential mortgage fraud, attempted residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud.

Vance said an investigation began in March 2017, roughly six months after Manafort was sacked as Trump's campaign chairman amid allegations of a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

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MSNBC's Ari Melber, upon learning of the Manhattan DA's indictment, tweeted, "This changes a lot"-an obvious reference to the fact that Trump doesn't have the ability to grant pardons at the state level". Nonetheless, her sentence on Wednesday could have been harsher: Manafort was facing the possibility of another ten years in prison as opposed to another 43 months.

The breadth of Manafort's criminal activity - and his own written agreement with prosecutors - led to a recommended sentence double that amount. "I accept the responsibility for the acts that caused me to be here today", Manafort said. Together, the two sentences total 7½ years, although Manafort will be given credit for the nine months he has already spent behind bars.

On Wednesday, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said 30 of the months would run concurrently with Manafort's sentence last week in a separate case when the Republican political consultant was sentenced to 47 months in prison for tax and bank fraud in a separate Mueller case.

Manafort, 69, apologized to "all those negatively affected by my actions", saying he was remorseful and regretted his actions and acknowledging he did not make that point before Judge T.S. Ellis III in Virginia last week.

Mueller's team has not made a specific recommendation on Manafort's sentencing in the Washington case but called him a "hardened" criminal in a filing last month, arguing he should be held accountable for the "gravity" of his crimes.

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Manafort's illicit lobbying efforts in the United States largely involved the Ukrainian Opposition Bloc, the former Party of Regions and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose government jailed a political rival Manafort sought to smear in the US.

Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing said Jackson exhibited callousness that was "hostile and totally unnecessary". Ellis did not say that and instead explained that the charges were unrelated to any Russian collusion or the 2016 presidential election.

His motivation, she added, was "not to support a family, but to sustain a lifestyle that was ostentatiously opulent and extravagantly lavish - more houses a family can enjoy, more suits than one man can wear".

"I pledge to do all I can to accelerate the healing process", he said.

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Paul Manafort given 3 1/2 more years of prison time