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manafort sentencing
March 13, 2019

That was fast.

Almost immediately after President Trump's campaign chair Paul Manafort was sentenced to an additional 73 months in prison for witness tampering and unregistered lobbying by a federal judge, the Manhattan District Attorney's office indicted Manafort on entirely brand new charges, NBC News reported.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance will reportedly bring 16 charges against Manafort relating to mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records, all on the state level. CNBC notes that President Trump does not have the power to pardon someone facing a state sentencing.

Vance said in a statement that Manafort's actions "strike at the heart of New York's sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market."

While the announcement's timing provided some shock value, it has been known that New York prosecutors were investigating Manafort and that they would seek to ensure that he stayed in prison if Trump did eventually pardon his crimes at the federal level. Read the indictment here. Tim O'Donnell

March 13, 2019

Judge Amy Berman Jackson laid into former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort before sentencing him for conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice for attempting to tamper with witnesses.

"It's hard to overstate the number of lies, the amount of fraud, and the extraordinary amount of money involved," Berman Jackson said. Despite Manafort's apology and his attorney's pleas for a lighter sentence, Jackson added that "there is no good explanation that would warrant the leniency requested."

Her most scathing comment, though, was her description of what she believed Manafort's true motivations were — to create a luxurious lifestyle, rife with excess houses and fine clothes.

Jackson also made sure to dispel the notion that Manafort is a victim, chastised him for failing to show remorse, and criticized his decision to not send her a letter before the sentencing.

Manafort's apology and letters from his family pleading for a shorter sentence so as not to split the family up for too long didn't do much to sway Jackson, either. The judge acknowledged that while it is unfortunate that prison sentences break up families, Manafort's wife and children have the financial means to sustain themselves. Tim O'Donnell

March 13, 2019

On Wednesday morning, Paul Manafort is expected to be sentenced in his second federal criminal case. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., could sentence him to up to 10 years in prison for crimes of witness tampering, unregistered lobbying, and other related charges.

Last week, Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison, out of a possible 24 years, in a separate case in Virginia; Berman will decide not just how long Manafort's second sentence will be but also whether he will serve it concurrently with the other one or consecutively. In this case, Manafort pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate, but Jackson concurred with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office that Manafort lied to prosecutors, voiding his plea deal. Peter Weber

March 8, 2019

Rudy Giuliani sees nothing wrong with President Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort receiving a prison sentence well below the recommended 20 years.

Manafort was convicted last year of bank and tax fraud, and on Thursday evening, Judge T.S. Ellis sentenced him to 47 months in prison. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer and a former federal prosecutor, told Jonathan Lemire of The Associated Press that this is an acceptable amount of time. "He's not a terrorist," Giuliani said. "He's not an organized criminal. He's a white collar criminal."

Giuliani said he feels "terrible about the way Manafort has been treated," adding that it's "not American to keep a man in solitary confinement to try to crack him." Manafort was targeted because "he wouldn't lie," Giuliani told Lemire. "It was ... not like anything I've ever seen before because they wanted him to say things that were not true."

Regarding the solitary confinement, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing last July that Manafort was in a private unit and "not confined to a cell." He had access to a telephone, laptop, and "his own bathroom and shower facility." Manafort seemed to find his accommodations acceptable, with Vox reporting he was heard on a monitored phone call saying he was treated like a "VIP." Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sees Paul Manafort's 47-month sentence for bank and tax fraud as further proof that the criminal justice system is broken.

On Thursday evening, MSNBC's Ari Melber tweeted that the sentence is "far below" the recommended 20 years, despite "extensive felonies and post-conviction obstruction." This is a "reminder of the blatant inequalities in our justice system that we all know about, because they reoccur every week in courts across America."

Ocasio-Cortez agreed. "Paul Manafort getting such little jail time for such serious crimes lays out for the world how it's almost impossible for rich people to go to jail for the same amount of time as someone who is lower income," she tweeted. "In our current broken system, 'justice' isn't blind. It's bought." Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2019

Paul Manafort was sentenced on Thursday to 47 months in prison for bank and tax fraud, well below the guidelines of 19 1/2 to 24 years.

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told Hardball's Chris Matthews this is an "unjust result," and "as an American, I'm upset." He's "disappointed" with Judge T.S. Ellis, who said in court that Manafort has "otherwise lived a blameless life," Kirschner said, calling the lenient sentence "an outrage" and "disrespectful of the American people."

The Washington Post's Jackie Alemany notes that in 2018, Ellis sentenced a 37-year-old man to the mandatory minimum of 40 years in prison for dealing meth, saying at the time: "I chafe a bit at that, but I follow the law. If I thought it was blatantly immoral, I'd have to resign. It's wrong, but not immoral."

Scott Hechinger, a public defender in Brooklyn, put Manafort's sentencing in context by tweeting that on Wednesday, one of his clients "was offered 36-72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a residential laundry room," and a colleague's client was "forced to plead out to the mandatory minimum of 3.5 years (5 months shy of Manafort) for simple possession of a firearm. No allegation of use. Prosecution wouldn't drop top count after a hearing. Best they had been willing to do was 2 years." Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2019

Ahead of his sentencing on Thursday, Paul Manafort addressed the court, saying the last two years have been "difficult" for his family.

Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chair, was convicted of tax and bank fraud last August, and could receive up to 24 years in prison. He spoke to the court for about four minutes, while seated in a wheelchair, thanking Judge T.S. Ellis for "a fair trial," and asking that he be "compassionate" in his sentencing.

Manafort did not apologize for his crimes, The Washington Post reports. He told the court his life is "professionally and financially in shambles," and "to say that I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement." Manafort shared that he has leaned on his faith to get through the last few years, and he hopes to "turn the notoriety into a positive and show who I really am." Catherine Garcia

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