Federal Judge Adds 43 Months to Paul Manafort's Prison Term

Nov. 6 2017 Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington

Earlier Wednesday, Washington, D.C., District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to the additional time, to be added to almost four years he received in another case last week.

In the Washington case, Manafort was sentenced for conspiracy against the USA, which included a range of conduct from money laundering to unregistered lobbying, and a second conspiracy count related to witness tampering.

While Manafort asked for leniency, he at times appeared interested in swaying "some other audience", the judge, Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court in DC, said on Wednesday morning, hinting at the President's criticisms of Mueller. She also said Manafort's "career was spent gaming the system". Shortly before the NY announcement, Manafort, 69, was ordered to serve an additional 43 months on federal conspiracy charges, bringing his total sentence between two federal courts to 7.5 years in twin cases stemming from the Mueller probe.

Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, is due to report to federal prison in May to begin serving a three-year sentence.

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

He 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. Jackson said Manafort committed fraud so he could live a lavish lifestyle.

But Jackson dismissed his plea for no more prison time on the charges of conspiring to launder money and tamper with witnesses.

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In August 2018, Cohen pled guilty to eight criminal charges, including bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations-before pleading guilty, in November 2018, to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower Moscow in Russian Federation.

Defense attorneys argued a lengthy prison term would amount to a life sentence for Manafort, given his age and the fact he has gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis.

Trump, who in November said he had not ruled out giving Manafort a pardon, on Wednesday said that "I have not even given it a thought".

He faces up to 10 additional years in prison when he is sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump election campaign and Russian Federation. But he reached Mueller's team, and pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy. He was convicted at trial in the Virginia case and pleaded guilty in Washington to two conspiracy counts, each punishable by up to five years in prison.

Wednesday's sentencing comes in a week of activity for the investigation. "He has not learned a harsh lesson", prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the court, referring to the witness tampering charge. Manafort associate Rick Gates, who was Trump's deputy campaign chair, was a co-defendant in Manafort's cases and reached a plea agreement that resulted in his ongoing cooperation with Mueller's probe.

Manafort had initially fought hard against both of the cases against him, challenging Mueller's authority in general and his ability to prosecute him for these particular offenses because they did not include charges for conspiring with Russian Federation to help President Donald Trump's campaign.

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