Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Paul Manafort returns to court for another sentencing

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves Federal District Court in Washington. The 69-year-old Manafort is scheduled to appear Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria Virg Paul Manafort returns to court for another sentencing
Jeannette Daniel | 13 March, 2019, 19:41

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was sentenced last week in Virginia, and sentenced again in Federal court on Wednesday. Last week, he was sentenced for another term over tax and bank fraud.

Manafort is seated in a wheelchair at the defense table next to his lawyers. "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".

Before the ruling, Manafort said he was "sorry" and pleaded with Judge Amy Berman Jackson to think of his family as she considers what sentence to hand him for his tax and bank fraud charges, and foreign lobbying violations.

A wheelchair-bound former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort learned Wednesday he will serve almost seven years in prison after a federal judge almost doubled the term handed down by another jurist in a separate case just last week.

The hearing was a milestone moment in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 election campaign.

The state-level charges appear similar to mortgage fraud schemes that federal prosecutors outlined against Manafort in the Eastern District of Virginia case. Instead of turning up any evidence of "collusion" with the Kremlin, however, the prosecutors charged him with financial crimes connected to his lobbying work in Ukraine, entirely unrelated to the 2016 election. He did cooperate with Mueller's investigation, conducting more than 50 hours of interviews.

He added that during nine months in solitary confinement, "I have reflected on what is important to me, and I can see I did not always act according to my code of personal values ..."

The former campaign manager was not ordered to pay any additional restitution after being ordered to pay a little more than $6 million last week.

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At the same time, he said he hoped Manafort would use his time behind bars to reflect on his behavior.

Manafort, a lifelong political operator whose clients have included dictators Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko, said he has learned his lesson.

None of Manafort's charges, however, relates to allegations of collusion with Russian Federation.

Jackson said Manafort could serve some of the time to which she was sentencing him at the same time he was serving in prison for his other case. "I promise you if you do, you will not regret it". "Period", Jackson said. "Therefore, it was not resolved one way or the other in this case".

Wednesday's sentencing comes in a week of activity for the investigation.

Judge Jackson blasted Manafort's "contempt" for the law and "his belief he had the right to manipulate these proceedings". Downing's statement was the first time that detail was made public. On Wednesday, she indicated that she would give Manafort some credit for accepting responsibility for his crimes by virtue of having pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy last September.

This is a developing story and will be updated with additional information.

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