Donald Trump and his campaign manager Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention, July 21, 2016
The prison sentence of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is doubled to 7 1/2 years.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the additional punishment on Wednesday, on two counts of tax evasion and fraud to which Manafort pleaded guilty last autumn. She said he “spent a significant portion of his career gaming the system.”
Jackson continued that Manafort, as an international consultant, strove to evade taxes, deceive banks, subvert lobbying laws, and obstruct justice to pursue an “ostentatiously opulent” lifestyle with “more houses than a family can enjoy, more suits than one man can wear”.
It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the amount of money involved. There is no question that this defendant knew better and he knew what he was doing.
She did not give Manafort the maximum 10-year term, citing guidelines to limit punishment in overlapping cases and noting that Manafort’s effort to tamper with witnesses were “nipped in the bud”.
Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager from June to August 2016, was given a 47-month sentence by Judge T.S. Ellis last Thursday, covering eight other counts on which he was convicted last August.
Minutes after Judge Jackson’s sentencing, the Manhattan district attorney filed new state criminal charges, including mortgage fraud. Conviction on those charges cannot be purged by a Trump pardon.Manafort, as an international consultant, strove to evade taxes, deceive banks, subvert lobbying laws, and obstruct justice to pursue an “ostentatiously opulent” lifestyle with “more houses than a family can enjoy, more suits than one… Click To Tweet
Rebuking “NO COLLUSION”
Jackson rebuked Manafort’s lead lawyer Kevin Downing for declaring that the proceedings had established there was no collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian officials, the subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry.
The cases against Manafort arose from material that Mueller’s team discovered in their investigation and passed to federal prosecutors.
Downing made his false statement after Judge Ellis’s sentencing last week. It was eagerly seized by Trump: “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia. But the Witch Hunt Hoax continues.”
Despite Jackson’s criticism and her reminder that the Trump-Russia links were not part of the court’s consideration, Downing repeated his falsehood: “Two courts have ruled no evidence of any collusion with the Russians.”
Trump played down Wednesday’s developments, avoiding the Russia issue:
“I have not even given it a thought, as of this moment. It’s not something that’s right now on my mind.
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. Certainly, on a human basis, it’s a very sad thing.