The first Manafort sentencing

Paul Manafort was sentenced on eight counts including tax and bank fraud in the US yesterday. He received a much lighter sentence than prosecutors had asked for, which was seen by some as some sort of victory, or a defeat for the Mueller inquiry, but it was still substantial. It included:

  • 47 months imprisonment
  • $50,000 fine
  • Must pay $25 million in restitution
  • 3 years of supervised release after his prison term

The Monetary penalties may not be a big deal if Manafort can afford to pay them, but I think the prison sentence is actually substantial and onerous. Especially for someone who has never been in trouble with the law before, nearly four years in prison is a very big deal.

Prison sentence numbers get thrown around these days as if years don’t matter. For someone who has never been there before months in prison would be a big deal, let alone years.

CBS News: Manafort sentenced to under 4 years in prison, far less than prosecutors sought

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis handed down the sentence in federal court in Virginia Thursday afternoon. He said Manafort committed “undeniably serious” crimes and expressed surprise that he did not “express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct.”

But Ellis also said the government’s recommendation of 19.5 to 24 years behind bars was “unwarranted” and “excessive,” adding that Manafort has “lived an otherwise blameless life.”

Perhaps ‘an otherwise uncaught life’ would be closer to the mark.

An attorney from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office told the court Manafort “failed to accept responsibility and is not remorseful.” In recent weeks Manafort’s legal team had requested a “significantly” lower sentence than the length recommended by prosecutors.

Before learning his fate, Manafort addressed the court, telling Ellis his life is in “shambles” and asking for leniency.

“The last two years have been the most difficult of my lif. To say I am humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement.”

After his conviction in Virginia, Manafort struck a plea deal to avoid a second trial on conspiracy charges in Washington, D.C. A federal judge determined in Februaryhe had breached his plea agreement by lying to the government.

Judge T.S. Ellis said Manafort committed “undeniably serious” crimes and expressed surprise that Manafort did not “express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct.”

“You should have remorse for that,” Ellis said.

Some seem to think that celebrations are in order for a relatively light sentence, but while I think Manafort may be relieved, he won’t have much to celebrate about for quite a while. Time already in custody will come off the time left to serve, but it will still be a tough time ahead for him.

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28 Comments

  1. I don’t think that the Manafort sentence is the main problem there.

    Reply
    • Reply
    • seer

       /  9th March 2019

      Which is why some of US have seen the US as being pathalogically fucked for years.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  9th March 2019

        Yup.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  9th March 2019

          Maori tv is re-screening the excellent Vietnam War series. A no holds barred 10 parter that features many US soliders and former Viet Cong or NVA who fought in it. In part 1 last night among other reminders from the first time I watched it there was a US vet (former special forces I think) who was commenting on losing his buddy in the first major attack the Vietcong didn’t melt away from, when they set out to bring down the first US helicopters dropping off ARVN troops and killed the first 5 of the US servicemen who travelled in them as advisers.

          It was jarring listening to him saying it was the first time he realised they were going to lose this war, right at the start, when he saw the hatred in the eyes of the population being forced off their land and into the fortified villages, and that he lived “in the greatest country in the world” and couldn’t reconcile their support for this policy.

          They really all still think this. They have no idea it’s not at all great. Just powerful. And it’s government is corrupt. But legally so.

          The also featured a former Viet Cong commander who made the observation that very early on the ARVN and US troops treated every man in the village as VC. They beat and murdered many. Most of them weren’t. His comment was something like: “Kill the right man, he is replaced with another enemy. Kill the wrong man; he is replaced with 10 enemy.”. And that’s what happened.

          Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th March 2019

      The black man didn’t get 12 years in the end..

      Just because marijuana’s legal in one state doesn’t mean it is in another. The two cases can’t really be compared with each other, it’s pointless.

      I Manafort was fined $25,000,000 as well as being sentenced.

      Reply
  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  9th March 2019

    White folks privilege as usual.
    Now wait for all the whities to say how it is ok.
    Who new.

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  9th March 2019

      Lemme qualify that for you, Finbar… it’s WORM justice

      White-Old-Rich-Men justice

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th March 2019

        No, it’s the fact that different states have different laws. He wouldn’t have been sentenced in Oregon. His race is probably irrelevant, as whites are given hefty sentences for drugs as well as blacks.

        Reply
  3. David

     /  9th March 2019

    The US has crazy long jail terms for seemingly minor crimes, the prosecution charge some poor hapless crook with loads of obscure crimes with endless years in prison and then they plea bargain it down, 90% of cases are settled this way with many an alleged crook playing the odds and pleading guilty to things they didnt do figuring they could get decades long stretch,s if the trial goes south so cop a plea and do their 6 months or whatever.

    Anyway looks like no one is talking Trump/Russia collusion anymore with the Dems opening up myriad other investigations hoping to find a crime, witch hunt would be an appropriate term. Certainly criminalized democracy anyway.

    Reply
    • Patzcuaro

       /  9th March 2019

      Hey whatever gets the job done, they got Al Capone for tax evasion in the end. Collusion will be hard to prove but we sort of financial crime will do.

      Reply
      • David

         /  9th March 2019

        You cant impeach let alone even charge a sitting President with a crime that happened years ago, certainly not one that involves a tax issue or an inflated loan application. But I do encourage the Democrats to go down this path because since they won the house its all gone horribly badly for them.

        Reply
    • seer

       /  9th March 2019

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th March 2019

        Al Capone was in a cleft stick, If he paid the tax, he’d have to say where his income came from and drop himself in it by confessing to being a criminal. If he didn’t, he’d be dropping himself in it anyway.

        The lawyer who thought of it was a very clever woman !!!

        Reply
  4. Trevors_elbow

     /  9th March 2019

    And Manaforts inmportance is what Pete and these charges relate to what precisely?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th March 2019

      There is a hidden case that is subject to suppression that Mueller is working on that seems to be an even bigger fish than Manafort and an un named foreign company.

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/18/sealed-v-sealed-robert-mueller-mysterious-case-subpoena

      ” the involvement of a foreign-owned corporation in such a supremely sensitive and high-profile case suggested a bank with possible financial dealings with Trump or his family business.”

      “The case has passed from the DC district court to the appeals court twice in less than four months, astounding legal experts

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th March 2019

    .. the ludicrously misnamed US justice system.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th March 2019

      Injustice – when they got convictions for these crimes.
      ‘Guilty on eight counts, including tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to declare foreign bank accounts. The federal judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts the jury could not agree on after deliberating for four days.

      So when ‘Lock her Up ‘ was used it was only a figure of speech- not for really guilty people

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  9th March 2019

      Joe must’ve seen that. Cut the “:large” off & have another go, or remember that next time: has to end in “.jpg” to display here, B.

      Reply
  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  9th March 2019

    Republican Judge Ellis’s sentencing of Manafort is completely out of line with sentences handed down for petty crimes.

    I’m not making the argument for harsher sentences for anyone including Manafort I am simply pointing out the outrageous disparity between his treatment and others, disproportionately poor & people of colour.

    Reply
      • Duker

         /  9th March 2019

        Obama wasnt ?
        “, his administration had exhorted prosecutors to stop measuring success by the number of defendants sent away for the maximum, taken a hands-off approach to states legalizing marijuana and urged local courts not to punish the poor with confiscatory fines and fees. His Justice Department intervened in cities where communities had lost trust in their police.”

        Obama’s legacy appears to reflect this shifting zeitgeist. He was the first sitting president to visit a federal corrections facility, the first president to oversee a sustained reduction in the incarceration rate in a half century, and has issued clemency to nearly 1,000 inmates over his time in office, more than his last three predecessors combined.

        Reply
    • Corky

       /  9th March 2019

      Poor Joe has still to learn about power. So many posts and angst, all for nothing. Hey, follow my lead. You are wasting your time on politics. The dice are rigged.

      Reply
  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  9th March 2019

    “He has lived an otherwise blameless life,” said Judge T. S. Ellis as he sentenced Paul Manafort to just 47 months in prison on Thursday.

    In an otherwise blameless life, Paul Manafort lobbied on behalf of the tobacco industry and wangled millions in tax breaks for corporations.

    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.

    In an otherwise blameless life, Manafort was kicked out of the lobbying firm he co-founded, accused of inflating his expenses and cutting his partners out of deals.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he spent a decade as the chief political adviser to a clique of former gangsters in Ukraine. This clique hoped to capture control of the state so that it could enrich itself with government contracts and privatization agreements. This was a group closely allied with the Kremlin, and Manafort masterminded its rise to power—thereby enabling Ukraine’s slide into Vladimir Putin’s orbit.

    In an otherwise blameless life, Manafort came to adopt the lifestyle and corrupt practices of his Ukrainian clients as his own.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he produced a public-relations campaign to convince Washington that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was acting within his democratic rights and duties when he imprisoned his most compelling rival for power.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he stood mute as Yanukovych’s police killed 130 protesters in the Maidan.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he found himself nearly $20 million in debt to a Russian oligarch. Instead of honestly accounting for the money, he simply stopped responding to the oligarch’s messages.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he tried to use his perch atop the Trump campaign to help salvage his sorry financial situation. He installed one of his protégés as the head of the pro-Trump super PAC Rebuilding America. His friend allegedly funneled $125,000 from the super PAC to pay off one of Manafort’s nagging debts.

    In an otherwise blameless life, Manafort was found guilty of tax evasion on an industrial scale. Rather than paying his fair share to help fund national defense and public health, he kept his cash in Cyprus and wired it home to buy more than $1 million in bespoke clothing.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he disguised his income as loans so that he could bamboozle banks into lending him money.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he attempted to phone a potential witness in his trial so that they could align their stories.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he systematically lied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors, after he promised them his full cooperation.

    In an otherwise blameless life, he acted with impunity, as if the laws never applied to him.

    When presented with a chance to show remorse to the court, he couldn’t find that sentiment within his being.

    And with Ellis’s featherweight punishment, which deviated sharply downward from the sentencing guidelines, Manafort managed to bring his life’s project to a strange completion. He had devoted his career to normalizing corruption in Washington. By the time he was caught, his extraordinary avarice had become so commonplace that not even a federal judge could blame him for it.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/paul-manaforts-otherwise-blamess-life-crime/584419/

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