Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced to 47 months, or nearly four years in prison, for bank and tax fraud.
A federal judge in Alexandria Virginia imposed the penalty for charges related to lobbying for a Ukrainian politician. The crimes took place in the years before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.
He could get another 10 years behind bars when he's sentenced next week in Washington in a separate case.
Amid a barrage of criticism from people who say President Trump's former campaign chairman got off easy, a judge sentenced him to 47 months for fraud and tax evasion not related to the Trump campaign. That sentence is far less than the nearly twenty-five years prosecutors wanted.
Inside the courtroom:
Manafort had this to say to the judge, “To say I am humiliated and shamed would be a gross understatement.” But he did not express any remorse for what he had done.
The judge commented on the lack of remorse, saying, “I'm surprised not to hear you express more regret or apologize.”
But the judge proceeded to shock the packed courtroom, sentencing Manafort to just a fraction of recommended sentence.
Paul Manafort, who was sitting in a wheelchair because of complications from gout, said before his sentencing that he feels pain and shame adding, “my life professionally and financially is in shambles.”
After a short recess, Judge TS Ellis’ called the charges “undeniably serious” and said Manafort had made choices to engage in criminal conduct.
But judge Ellis then added that Manafort had “lived an otherwise blameless life and he has engaged in lots of good things.”
Ellis called the recommended sentence of 19 to 24 years behind bars excessive and handed Manafort a term of nearly four years instead.
Reactions from both sides came swiftly:
Manafort agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation last September, but the agreement fell apart prosecutors say Manafort lied repeatedly to the special counsel's office, the FBI and a grand jury.
“Manafort worked for me for a very short amount of time,” said the president. Donald Trump has sought to distance himself from his former campaign chairman.
Liberals expressed outrage at what they called a light ruling. They took particular exception to the judge’s statement that Manafort had lived an otherwise blameless life.
Writing for The Atlantic, Franklin Foer said, “In an otherwise blameless life, he helped Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos bolster his image in Washington after he assassinated his primary political opponent. In an otherwise blameless life, he worked to keep arms flowing to the Angolan generalissimo Jonas Savimbi, a monstrous leader bankrolled by the apartheid government in South Africa. While Manafort helped portray his client as an anti-communist ‘freedom fighter,’ Savimbi’s army planted millions of land mines in peasant fields, resulting in 15,000 amputees.”