Sentencing hearing begins for Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort Donald Trump's campaign team chief sentenced to 47 months in prison

Reuters

"My life is professionally and financially in shambles".

After his first trial, when he was found guilty, Manafort struck a plea agreement with Mueller for the remaining 10 counts the jury was deadlocked on and a second set of charges in Washington, D.C., involving witness tampering and conspiracy.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months for tax and bank fraud in federal court Thursday. Ever since, Russian Federation has sought to ease the burden of USA sanctions imposed on Moscow for that invasion.

The case was one of two Mueller prosecutions of Manafort.

Thursday's sentencing in Virginia is just one of two Manafort faces. But Ellis said the sentencing guidelines were excessive and would create "an unwarranted disparity" with other cases.

"Manafort suggests, for example, that but for the appointment of the special counsel's office, he would not have been charged in connection with hiding more than $55 million overseas, failing to pay more than $6 million in taxes and defrauding three financial institutions of more than $25 million dollars", Mueller added.

Manafort volunteered to work for the Trump campaign for free.

"The special counsel's attempt to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts before this court", Manafort's attorneys said.

Manafort's decisions, Mueller's team said, "were his own and his efforts at misdirection are further proof that he has not accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct".

At the outset of the hearing, Ellis addressed the larger special counsel investigation, saying Manafort was not convicted "for anything to do with Russian colluding in the presidential election".

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russian officials and is awaiting sentencing.

There's been speculation that the president, who has expressed sympathy for Manafort, could pardon him former campaign chairman.

Prosecutors also believe Manafort still poses a risk of recidivism, noting that he lied to the government and the grand jury as recently as past year.

He has used his presentencing court filings to ask Ellis for leniency and to argue that he is sorry, with the hope that his sentence will be light and he can live abiding by the law if he is released.

Mueller's charges led to the stunning downfall of Manafort, a prominent figure in Republican Party circles for decades who also worked as a consultant to such worldwide figures as former Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Yanukovych.

Prosecutors say the claims of health issues have not withstood scrutiny and even if they did, poor health is not a reason to escape consequences of criminal conduct.

"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 earlier this week to the Judge.

Months of investigations, court appearances, and guilty pleas has led to the day Paul Manafort will be sentenced in a Virginia court for a number of crimes stemming from his work as a lobbyist and consultant.

Ellis repeatedly interrupted prosecutors, told them to stop using the word "oligarch" to describe people associated with Manafort because it made him seem "despicable", and objected to pictures of Manafort's luxury items they planned to show jurors.

"It isn't a crime to have a lot of money and be profligate in your spending", Ellis told prosecutors during the trial.

Google's Human-Sounding AI 'Google Duplex' is Coming to iPhones
Syria force to resume evacuations after piercing last Daesh redoubt