Manafort asks for compassion before sentencing

Manafort asks for compassion before sentencing

He initially avoided a second trial after reaching a plea agreement with the Mueller investigation, but that fell apart when prosecutors persuaded a judge that Manafort had been lying rather than co-operating.

Donald Trump's presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been jailed for almost four years. They said Manafort engaged in a scheme to hide tens of millions of dollars from the federal government by hiding money overseas, evading taxes, and defrauding several financial institutions.

Manafort, who served for a stint as President Trump's campaign chairman, will be sentenced in a separate case next week in DC, this one related to illegal lobbying.

Most of the tens of millions of dollars Manafort was accused of hiding from the USA tax authorities were paid as consulting fees for work he did for Russian-backed Ukranian politicians between 2004 and 2014.

"The last two years have been the most hard years for my family and I", Manafort told U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis.

"The real essence of his violation is that he stole from us, the people who pay their taxes", Ellis said of Manafort. "When I was in the State Department, I met with all kinds of people, so you can triangulate and figure out what's happening".

In their sentencing memo last month, Mueller's office recommended a term of 19.5 years to 24.5 years in prison for the "millions of dollars involved in the defendant's crimes, the duration of his criminal conduct, or the sophistication of his schemes".

Early on in Manafort's Virginia bank and tax fraud trial, Judge Ellis' colorful, and at times inappropriate comments from the bench, grabbed headlines.

Poor South African savers ruined by bank collapse
Poor South African savers ruined by bank collapse

A federal judge imposed the sentence of 47 months after a lengthy hearing on Thursday in Alexandria, Va.

No, Manafort has not been charged with anything related to the special counsel's investigation into an alleged Russian plot to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He was convicted last summer of hiding millions of dollars of income from his political consulting in Ukraine.

Manafort's lawyers had said that their client isn't a "brazen" criminal and has been railroaded by the special counsel.

Manafort was asked if he had had the chance to read the pre-sentencing report and he said "I have, your honor".

In many ways, the Manafort case - which reached back nearly a decade to track the movement of money from his Ukrainian political consulting work, through the time he was broke and working for Trump in 2016 - has shaped Mueller's actions for nearly two years. Still, prosecutors sprinkled tantalizing clues in court filings about Manafort's interactions with an associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, linked by Mueller to a Russian intelligence service.

His sentencing marks a spectacular downfall for a high-rolling Republican political guru who advised USA presidents, including Mr Trump, and foreign leaders.

In a response Tuesday, Mueller's team said Manafort had not provided "complete and honest cooperation" and noted that he still owes the federal government more than $6 million. Prosecutors said he was cash-poor when he lied to banks to obtain loans, even as he worked at no salary for Trump's campaign.

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