Looking at 47 months in jail, Paul Manafort faces second sentencing in DC case
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Paul Manafort is expected to be sentenced in the District of Columbia Wednesday morning, marking the likely conclusion of the former Trump campaign chairman’s year-and-a-half long legal battle.
The federal judge in Manafort’s D.C. case could sentence him to up to 10 years in prison for crimes related to unregistered foreign lobbying and witness tampering, unrelated to his work on the Trump campaign.
Manafort was sentenced separately by Judge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia to almost four years in prison last week on charges of bank and tax fraud.
Manafort’s financial charges relate to criminal activities that occurred between 2006 and 2015, though the witness tampering charge relates to contacts he made in 2017 after he was indicted.
Prosecutors in the case have said in filings that Manafort’s sentence should reflect the “gravity of his conduct.” The defense team, however, has argued that Manafort should be sentenced to a term of imprisonment significantly below the statutory maximum.
“This case is not about murder, drug cartels, organized crime, the Madoff Ponzi scheme or the collapse of Enron,” Manafort’s legal team argued in a sentencing memo. “Mr. Manafort does not dispute his guilt, but these factors do not warrant a substantial period of imprisonment in this case.”
Manafort’s lawyers also cited his significant health challenges as a consideration for a decreased sentencing.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson also will determine Wednesday whether the sentence she hands down in her courtroom will run concurrently with the sentence Manafort received last week in Virginia.
Manafort’s lead attorney, Kevin Downing, asked Judge Ellis last week whether he could rule that his sentence for Manafort run concurrent to the sentence Manafort is expected to receive in D.C. on Wednesday, but Ellis said he believed that decision would be entirely up to Judge Jackson.
“It’s up to her,” Ellis said referring to Jackson. “But if you find that I’m incorrect, that I have that discretion or that power, you may — and that will be after she completes her sentencing – then you can return.”
Manafort pleaded guilty to the two charges he is being sentenced for on Wednesday as part of a plea deal that required his full cooperation with special counsel investigators. But his sentencing was delayed while legal teams engaged in a lengthy dispute about whether Manafort had lied to FBI agents and breached his plea agreement.
Prosecutors first alleged in November that Manafort had lied about several key topics during his interviews with investigators, including lies about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a businessman with ties to Russian intelligence, who was charged with witness tampering alongside Manafort.
Manafort’s attorneys maintained that he had not lied.
Jackson ruled in mid-February after two closed-door hearings that Manafort had lied and breached his plea agreement, absolving the special counsel of any obligation to recommend a decreased sentence for Manafort.
The special counsel Wednesday will likely make no recommendation for a lax sentence.
During Manafort’s Virginia sentencing, the special counsel argued against Manafort’s receiving credit for acceptance of responsibility or for cooperation with investigators.
“Mr. Manafort vigorously defended himself on the facts and his guilt, and he did not accept responsibility in this courthouse with respect to those crimes,” said special prosecutor Greg Andres last week.
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