Paul Manafort is going to prison. The former Trump campaign chairman has been sentenced to 47 months after pleading guilty to eight charges, including bank and tax fraud.
UPDATE, 5/13/20, 8:34am ET: Paul Manafort has been released from prison early amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Trump campaign chairman, 71, will serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement, according to ABC News. Manafort was released early in the morning of May 13 from FCI Loretto prison in Pennsylvania after serving less than one year of his over seven-year sentence (less than 30 percent). The longtime GOP strategist’s attorneys wrote a letter to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in April requesting that he be immediately transferred to house arrest, as he is at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, not only because of his age, but because of pre-existing medical conditions; Manafort was hospitalized in December 2019 after having a “cardiac event,” and contracted the flu and bronchitis in prison in February 2020.
He suffers from high blood pressure, liver disease, and respiratory problems, and takes 11 medications daily for his various ailments, according to his attorneys. Manafort, who ran President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy in March 2019. His crimes included money laundering, obstruction of justice, and failing to disclose political lobbying — all related to his involvement in the president’s Ukraine scandal. He was set to be released from prison on November 4, 2024. His early release comes five days after the Department of Justice dropped all charges against another former Trump employee, Michael Flynn. Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, lying to the FBI during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
UPDATE, 3/13/19, 12:25pm ET: Paul Manafort was sentenced on March 13 to serve an additional three and a half years in federal prison for conspiracy. US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. sentenced Trump’s former campaign manager on two counts of conspiracy that included crimes like including money-laundering, obstruction of justice and failing to disclose political lobbying work. Though each charge carried a maximum sentence of five years, Jackson said that since one count was closely tied to the bank and tax fraud scheme he was convicted of on March 7, he could serve the sentence concurrently. Manfort begged for leniency. “This case has taken everything from me, already. Please let my wife and I be together.”
ORIGINAL: The house of cards is toppling. After asking for compassion in his sentencing, Paul Manafort has been sentenced by a federal judge to 47 months in prison on March 7 for defrauding banks and the government, as well as failing to pay taxes on millions of dollars he made from political consulting in Ukraine, charges that stemmed from the Mueller investigation. Prosecutors recommended between 19 and 25 years in prison, a recommendation which Judge TS Ellis called “excessive” in Thursday’s sentencing hearing. In addition to his nearly four years in prison, Manafort has been ordered to pay at least $6 million in restitution to the government.
On top of that, he’ll also have to play a $50,000 fine, and serve three years of supervised release. A jury found Manafort guilty on guilty on eight counts during a three-week trial over the summer — five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. The former Trump presidential campaign chairman was acquitted on 10 additional charges of foreign banking and bank fraud when the jury could not come to a consensus.
Before being sentenced, Manafort spoke for around four minutes. While he didn’t apologize for his crimes, Manafort did admit that he felt “humiliated and ashamed.” “I know it is my conduct that brought me here,” he told Judge Ellis. “My life — personally and professionally — is in shambles.” Manafort later addressed Ellis personally, saying, “I ask you to be compassionate.” While Ellis admitted that before these crimes, Manafort had been “a good friend” and a “generous person, ” he stated that this “can’t erase” his crimes. While Ellis didn’t sentence Manafort with the maximum jail time, Ellis revealed that he was disappointed that Manafort hadn’t shown any remorse for his crimes. “I was surprised I did not hear you express regret for engaging in criminal conduct,” Ellis said. “I hope you will reflect on that.”
Manafort has another trial next week with a different federal judge, to receive sentencing for two crimes he pleaded guilty to over the summer: witness tampering and conspiracy related to his illegal Ukrainian income. Manafort begged the judge in his pre-sentencing court filings for leniency; he is 70 years old, a sentence of 20+ years could be more than life in prison. Manafort’s health has declined since he lost his bail agreement and went to jail for witness tampering in July 2018. He now needs a cane to walk after previously using a wheelchair. He is currently in solitary confinement at the Alexandria Detention Center for his own safety.
Manafort’s investigation began a year ago, when the FBI stormed his house in Alexandria, Virginia and seized documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential race. Manafort surrendered to the FBI and was indicted on charges including laundering over $18 million through foreign banks.
While he was initially released on bail, it was revoked after he was served with new charges — obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among others. He has remained behind bars since. He was accused by Mueller of trying to witness tamper in his money laundering case. With Manafort sentenced, and Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testifying before Congress just a week prior that the president allegedly committed multiple crimes, it’s not looking good. Who’s next?