Today's Paper Search Latest stories Drivetime Mahatma 🔴 Hogs live Traffic Legislature Newsletters Obits Weather Puzzles + Games
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption In this file photo Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, arrives at federal court in Washington on June 15, 2018.

WASHINGTON — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to a total of seven and a half years in prison Wednesday after a federal judge rejected his appeal for no additional time and rebuked him for his crimes and years of lies.

Within minutes of the sentencing, prosecutors in New York brought state charges against Manafort — a move that appeared at least partly designed to guard against the possibility that President Donald Trump could pardon him. The president can pardon federal crimes, but not state offenses.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to nearly three-and-a-half years in prison on charges that he misled the U.S. government about his foreign lobbying work and encouraged witnesses to lie on his behalf. That punishment is on top of a roughly four-year sentence he received last week in a separate case in Virginia. He is expected to get credit for the nine months of jail time he's done already.

The sentencing hearing was a milestone moment in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election campaign. Manafort was among the first people charged in the investigation, and though the allegations did not relate to his work for Trump, his foreign entanglements and business relationship with a man the U.S. says has ties to Russian intelligence have made him a pivotal figure in the probe.

Though the judge made clear that the case against Manafort had nothing to do with Russian election interference, she also scolded Manafort's lawyers for asserting that their client was only charged because prosecutors couldn't get him on crimes related to potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

"The no-collusion mantra is simply a non sequitur," she said, suggesting that those arguments were meant for an audience outside the courtroom — presumably a reference to the president, who has expressed sympathy for Manafort and not ruled out a pardon.

Jackson also harshly criticized Manafort for years of deception that extended even into her own courtroom and the grand jury. She said much of the information he provided to prosecutors after pleading guilty couldn't be used because of his history of deceit.

"It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved" in the federal conspiracy charges related to his foreign lobbying work and witness tampering.

Reading from a three-page statement, Manafort asked for mercy and said the criminal charges against him have "taken everything from me already." He pleaded with the judge not to impose any additional time beyond the sentence he had received last week in a separate case in Virginia.

"I am sorry for what I have done and all the activities that have gotten us here today," Manafort said in a steady voice. "While I cannot undo the past, I will ensure that the future will be very different."

The 69-year-old, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, said he was the primary caregiver of his wife and wanted the chance for them to resume their life together.

"She needs me and I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate," Manafort said. "This case has taken everything from me already — my properties, my cash, my life insurance, my trust accounts for my children and my grandchildren, and more."

His plea for leniency followed prosecutor Andrew Weissmann's scathing characterization of crimes that the government said spanned more than a decade and continued even while Manafort was awaiting trial. The prosecutor said Manafort took steps to conceal his foreign lobbying work, laundered millions of dollars to fund a lavish lifestyle and then, while on house arrest, coached other witnesses to lie on his behalf.

"I believe that is not reflective of someone who has learned a harsh lesson. It is not a reflection of remorse," Weissmann said. "It is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass, that someone in that position would choose to make that decision at that moment."

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing suggested Manafort was being unduly punished because of the "media frenzy" generated by the appointment of a special counsel.

"That results in a very harsh process for the defendant," Downing said.

After the hearing, Downing criticized Jackson's sentencing as "callous", "hostile" and "totally unnecessary" as he was shouted down by protesters.

"I think the judge showed that she is incredibly hostile toward Mr. Manafort and exhibited a level of callousness that I've not seen in a white-collar case in over 15 years of prosecutions," Downing told reporters, noting that he was "disappointed" by the sentence.

Wednesday's sentencing comes in a week of activity for the investigation. Mueller's prosecutors on Tuesday night updated a judge on the status of cooperation provided by one defendant, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and are expected to do the same later in the week for another.

Mueller's investigation has shown signs of coming to a close and he is expected to soon deliver a report to the Justice Department.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

You must be signed in to post comments

Comments

  • ARMNAR
    March 13, 2019 at 11:39 a.m.

    "the best people..."

  • PopMom
    March 13, 2019 at 12:08 p.m.

    Following sentencing, Manafort was charged with more crimes in New York. When will these people learn that crime does not pay?

  • Illinoisroy
    March 13, 2019 at 12:19 p.m.

    article insinuates consecutive sentence but doesn't explicitly state same?

  • PopMom
    March 13, 2019 at 12:23 p.m.

    IllinoisRoy,

    I am not sure about that either, but more charges have been filed today. When Mueller finishes his investigation, there may still be even more. It's getting exciting. The Republican primary for president in 2020 may get to be almost as crowded as the Democratic. So many Republicans are making "necessary" trips to Iowa.

  • seitan
    March 13, 2019 at 12:40 p.m.

    Another rich white man with connections gets another light sentence.

  • GeneralMac
    March 13, 2019 at 12:57 p.m.

    PopMom also was certain the newest Supreme Court judge was NOT getting confirmed.

    That plus..

    "Russian collusion"
    "Russian collusion"
    "Russian collusion"

  • Packman
    March 13, 2019 at 1:40 p.m.

    Never forget how bedwetting libs promised Manafort would provide the smoking gun on Trump/Putin collusion. Remember “drip, drip, drip”?
    .
    And now all indications are the Mueller report will be a big fat nothingburger on Trump/Putin with the reason being there never was any such thing. It was a hoax from the outset started by sore losers who simply could not accept the fact Donald Trump kicked Hillary’s ass fair and square
    .
    When it’s all said and done President Trump will be fully exonerated of the fictitious Russian collusion nonsense. And then he will be re-elected. MAGA, baby, MAGA

  • RBBrittain
    March 13, 2019 at 3:41 p.m.

    Packman, I never said Manafort would flip; I've known he was a friend of Comrade Putin since at least 2014, when he was consulting for Viktor Yanukovich, Putin's lackey in Ukraine till he was overthrown (for which the Russians illegally annexed Crimea and occupied eastern Ukraine), and Donald Trump was still a reality show host pushing the crazy birther conspiracy. There is SOLID PROOF that Putin interfered in the 2016 election; the only question for Mueller or the House is connecting the dots between Trump & Putin.

  • Skeptic1
    March 13, 2019 at 3:49 p.m.

    Russia collusion anyone? So we have another process crime, where is the meat Mr. Mueller and Maxine Impeach 45 Waters? the longer you idiots cling to that meatless bone the more pathetic and incompetent you look.

  • RP57
    March 13, 2019 at 3:50 p.m.

    Its amazing all the people here who have SOLID PROOF of Russian collusion and an experienced prosecutor like Mueller can't find it with unlimited resources at his disposable. Manafort is just being punished for not helping Mueller. One of the last things Trump does before leaving office at the end of his second term will be to pardon Manafort.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT