Paul Manafort now faces 7 years in prison, fresh NY charges

Posted March 14, 2019

"It's hard to overstate the number of lies, the amount of fraud involved. and there is no good explanation to warrant the leniency requested", she said.

The possibility of a presidential pardon - a prospect Trump has not ruled out - will likely continue to hang over the Manafort situation, lawyers said.

The charges include 16 counts of state felonies, which would put Manafort behind bars for up to an additional two decades if convicted.

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

Still, Manhattan prosecutors, who brought the new indictment, contend their case is safe because mortgage fraud and falsifying business records are state but not federal crimes. Manafort and business associate Rick Gates were among the first of 34 people charged, and though the charges against Manafort weren't tied to his work on the Trump campaign, his foreign entanglements have made him a subject of intrigue to prosecutors assessing whether the campaign colluded with Russian Federation to sway the outcome of the 2016 election.

Just after the sentence was delivered, news broke that Manafort was indicted in NY on state charges, seen as a strategy for preventing a potential presidential pardon. Jackson emphasized that this case was not about collusion.

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Prosecutors and Manafort's defense team made their own arguments in court Wednesday for how harsh the judge should be.

Even if Trump were defeated by a Democrat in 2020, he or she might be compelled to pardon him for federal crimes -at the risk of a backlash from the base - for fear of the unrest his prosecution could cause.

"I am sorry for what I have done and all the activities that have got me here today", Manafort told the court.

Manafort himself asked for mercy on more personal grounds, telling Jackson he is the sole caregiver to his 66-year-old wife.

But as Manhattan DA Cy Vance's move against Manafort on Wednesday showed, state prosecutors are in many ways a law unto themselves.

One heckler called Downing a liar, repeatedly shouting "that's not what she said!" in reference to the judge.

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The indictment filed March 7 was unsealed the same day Manafort was sentenced in Washington in the second of two federal cases against him.

Last week, a federal judge in Virginia sentenced the Republican political consultant to 47 months in prison - an unexpectedly lenient term - for tax and bank fraud in a separate Mueller case.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissman did not recommend a specific sentence for Manafort but delivered a withering assessment of Manafort's crimes, saying they "go to the heart of the American criminal system".

Manafort's lawyers used court papers to be critical of Mueller's investigation and the lack of charges related to the 2016 presidential election. He has apparently been giving prosecutors a great deal of information about various investigations into Trump world and has not yet been sentenced.

Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing said Jackson exhibited callousness that was "hostile and totally unnecessary".

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