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Manafort New Faces 19+ Years in Prison 02/16 10:48
Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of Donald Trump's presidential
campaign, could spend more than 19 years in prison on tax and bank fraud
charges, prosecutors said Friday.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of Donald Trump's
presidential campaign, could spend more than 19 years in prison on tax and bank
fraud charges, prosecutors said Friday.
Court documents filed by special counsel Robert Mueller's office reveal that
Manafort faces possibly the lengthiest prison term in the Russia investigation.
The 69-year-old Manafort is also at serious risk of spending the rest of his
life in prison if a federal judge imposes a sentence within federal guidelines.
The potential sentence stems from Manafort's conviction last year on eight
felony counts related to an elaborate scheme to conceal from tax authorities
the millions of dollars he earned overseas from Ukrainian political consulting.
It is one of two criminal cases pending against Manafort in which he faces
Manafort, who led Trump's campaign for months during the 2016 presidential
campaign, is not charged with any crimes directly related to Russian election
interference, the thrust of Mueller's probe. But prosecutors have recently
revealed that they remain deeply interested in his contacts during and after
the campaign with an associate the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.
In a 27-page court filing Friday, prosecutors did not recommend a precise
sentence for Manafort, but they agreed with a calculation by federal probation
officials that his crimes deserve a punishment of between 19.5 and 24.5 years.
They also lay out in great detail for U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III how
they say Manafort's greed drove him to disregard American law.
"In the end, 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," the prosecutors wrote. "The sentence here should reflect
the seriousness of these crimes, and serve to both deter Manafort and others
from engaging in such conduct."
Manafort has been jailed for months as he awaits his formal sentencing. His
lawyers have said the incarceration has created a mental and physical strain on
Manafort, who has recently used a wheelchair in court appearances and will turn
70 in April.
But Mueller's team made clear that Manafort's age should not be a
consideration, nor does it eliminate the risk that he could still commit new
"Nothing about the defendant's age is unusual," they wrote. "Tax offenders
are often older and often, like the defendant, wealthy, but they nonetheless
receive substantial terms of incarceration notwithstanding age and health
Prosecutors often acknowledge mitigating factors that a judge may consider
on a defendant's behalf in favor of a more lenient sentence. But none exist
here, prosecutors said.
They note that "his pattern of criminal activity" lasted more than a decade,
that he conspired to tamper with witnesses despite facing indictments in two
different districts and that he repeatedly lied to the government and to a
grand jury even after he agreed to cooperate and plead guilty.
They also argued that Manafort deserved a sentencing enhancement reserved
for defendants who lead or organize others in criminal activity.
"Manafort controlled the money at issue, he recruited others to facilitate
these crimes, and he claimed a larger share of the proceeds," they said.
"Further, Manafort was plainly the leader. He involved numerous individuals who
were both knowing and unknowing participants in the criminal scheme."
The filing by prosecutors came just days after a judge in Manafort's other
criminal case ruled that he breached his plea agreement by lying to
investigators and a federal grand jury about several topics, including his
discussions of a Russia-Ukraine peace plan with the associate the FBI says has
ties to Russian intelligence.
That plea-agreement dispute has revealed that Mueller's team considers
Manafort's contacts with the associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, to go to the
"heart " of the ongoing investigation into any links between Russian election
interference and Trump associates.
Manafort faces up to five years in prison in that separate case in
Washington, where he admitted to illegally lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian