The former campaign chairman received an extra 73 months at D.C. hearing where he apologized for his crimes.
Breaking: Paul Manafort has been charged in a 16-count indictment in New York state, the first charges that are outside President Trump’s pardon power. A grand jury returned the indictment charging Trump’s former campaign chairman with mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Paul Manafort received a prison sentence totaling 7 1 / 2 years in prison at a hearing in Washington on Wednesday. Judge Amy Berman Jackson added 43 months to the 47-month sentence the former Trump campaign chairman was given last week in federal court in Alexandria, Va.
Jackson pushed back on defense attorneys’ repeated assertions that Manafort was mere collateral damage in the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“This defendant is not public enemy number one, but he’s also not a victim either,” Jackson said. “There’s no question this defendant knew better, and he knew exactly what he was doing.”
The question of whether anyone in Donald Trump’s campaign “conspired or colluded with” the Russian government “was not presented in this case,” she said, so for Manafort’s attorneys to emphasize that no such collusion was proved, she said, is “a non-sequitur.”
She added that the assertion may not even be “accurate,” because the special counsel investigation is not over and she found that Manafort lied to investigators about issues at the heart of the inquiry.
“It’s not appropriate to say investigators haven’t found anything when you lied to the investigators,” she said.
Manafort, 69, faced as many as 10 more years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by illegally lobbying in Ukraine and hiding the proceeds overseas, then encouraging witnesses to lie on his behalf.
He apologized to “all those negatively affected by my actions,” acknowledging that he did not express such regret when sentenced days ago by Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria for bank and tax fraud.
“Let me be very clear: I accept responsibility for the actions that led me to be here today, and I want to apologize for all I contributed to the impacts on people and institutions. While I cannot change the past, I can work to change the future,” Manafort said from a wheelchair, turning to face Jackson. “I want to say to you now, I am sorry for what I have done and for all of the activities that have gotten us here today.”
He added that nine months in solitary confinement after being jailed on charges of of witness tampering gave him “new self-awareness.”
Jackson said Manafort’s crimes were “not just a failure to comply with some pesky regulations,” but “lying to the American people and the American Congress. . . . It is hard to overstate the number of lies and amount of money involved.”
Manafort’s motivation, she added, was “not to support a family, but to sustain a lifestyle that was ostentatiously opulent and extravagantly lavish — more houses thana family can enjoy, more suits than one man can wear.”
But she agreed with Ellis that sentencing guidelines in the case were excessive. She said that 30 months of her sentence must run concurrently to his Virginia term because the underlying conduct is the same.
Prosecutors questioned whether Manafort was capable of changing, depicting him as a mastermind of a conspiracy in which he was paid $50 million over more than a decade by a Russian-backed politician and party in Ukraine, and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“His work was corrosive to faith in the political process, both in the United States and abroad,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said. “He served to undermine, not promote, American ideals of honesty, transparency and playing by the rules.”
Manafort’s attempt to cover up his crimes by asking witnesses to lie for him, Weissmann said, “is not reflective of somebody who has learned a harsh lesson. It is not a reflection of remorse. It is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass.”
Manafort led a sophisticated scheme “to avoid a duty all Americans have” to pay their taxes, Weissmann said, hiding wealth in 30 foreign bank accounts containing more than $50 million for his work for the government of Ukraine and Deripaska.
Defense attorney Kevin M. Downing said his client is genuinely remorseful and has endured a “media frenzy” that few other defendants in this country have faced. Downing said all sides have sought to spin Manafort’s predicament to their political advantage, adding, that “but for a short stint as campaign manager in a presidential election, I don’t think we would be here today. I think the court should consider that, too.”
Jackson dismissed that argument, telling Manafort, “Saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught’ is not an inspiring call for leniency.”
The investigation of Manafort predated the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in 2017, and it wasn’t the special counsel’s office that made Manafort lie to investigators, she said.
Manafort asked for mercy on more personal grounds, telling Jackson that he is the sole caregiver to his 66-year-old wife. “She needs me, and I need her. I ask that you think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate today. Please let my wife and I be together,” he said.
Jackson acknowledged Manafort’s generosity and care for his family and other causes, calling them “commendable,” and said she did not discount that she did “not know everything that there is“ to Paul Manafort, or will be to him.