Paul Manafort will be sentenced by a federal judge on Thursday for defrauding banks and the government and failing to pay taxes on millions of dollars in income he earned from Ukrainian political consulting. These are all charges that stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The penalty may be steep enough to keep the former Trump campaign chairman in prison for the rest of his life.
Prosecutors say that Manafort, 69, deserves between 19 and 25 years in prison as well as millions of dollars in fines and restitution for the crimes. A jury convicted him after a three-week trial last summer. Manafort has shown little remorse, they say, and even lied under oath following a plea deal after the trial.
“The defendant blames everyone from the special counsel’s office to his Ukrainian clients for his own criminal choices,” prosecutors wrote in a final court filing this week to Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia.
Manafort’s was the first indictment Mueller announced in late 2017 and it used the criminal prosecution to intensify pressure on him throughout 2018 as they sought his cooperation on matters central to their probe. Manafort’s conviction at trial was a major win for Mueller. It is the only official certification from an impartial group of citizens that Mueller had uncovered major crime.
The eight crimes for which Manafort will be sentenced on Thursday include five convictions of tax fraud from 2010 through 2014, hiding his foreign bank accounts from federal authorities in 2012 and defrauding two banks for more than $4 million in loans intended for real estate. At his trial, one juror refused to join the other 11 to convict him on 10 additional foreign banking and bank fraud charges.
Do you think that Manafort should spend the rest of his life in prison? Do you think that President Trump will ultimately pardon his former campaign chairman?