Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in federal prison on Friday for bank and tax fraud charges.
Virginia sentencing guidelines dictated Manafort should serve between 19.5-24 years in prison on the eight financial charges on which he was convicted.
“The defendant blames everyone from the special counsel’s office to his Ukrainian clients for his own criminal choices,” prosecutors wrote in a filing asking Ellis to sentence Manafort to between 19 and 25 years in prison.
“These guidelines are quite high,” Judge T.S. Ellis said on Thursday, rejecting the prosecutors request. “I think this sentencing range is excessive.”
“Manafort has been a good friend to others, a generous person. He has lived an otherwise blameless life,” Ellis added.
Minutes before he was sentenced, Manafort pleaded with Ellis for mercy Thursday at his sentencing trial.
“The last two years have been the most difficult years for my family and I,” Manafort said at the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom. “To say that I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement.”
Here’s what Paul Manafort looks like allocating in court today per sketch artist Art Lien pic.twitter.com/HfEHpoYzJF
— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) March 7, 2019
Asking for “compassion,” Manafort added that “I know it is my conduct that has brought me here,” according to The Washington Post.
“I appreciate the fairness of the trial you conducted,” he told the jugde. “My life is professionally and financially in shambles.”
Manafort added that the national scrutiny over his case has weighed on him, though he aims “to turn the notoriety into a positive and show who I really am.”
Manafort will be sentenced in a D.C. federal court in the coming days on conspiracy charges related to his lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government.
CNN Legal Analyst Elie Honig tweeted: “A below-guidelines sentence would’ve been perfectly fair but 47 months is a joke. Steal millions from US Government, violate bail, get convicted by jury, fake cooperate, lie to prosecutors, refuse to accept responsibility – and get an enormous break. That’s an unjust sentence.”
Let me add: (1) Judge Jackson still gets her say next week and can add as many as ten years (probably won’t add that much but likely will add some) and (2) it is possible for Mueller to appeal this sentence. Appeal is unlikely to succeed but possible.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) March 8, 2019
So much is wrong with America. https://t.co/ShHgjqHsCM
— Richard Stanislaw (@richstanislaw) March 8, 2019
CNN Legal Analyst Laura Coates tweeted: “FYI in 2018, #JudgeEllis sentenced Frederick Turner, 37, to a mandatory minimum of 40 years in prison for dealing methamphetamine: ‘I chafe a bit at that, but I follow the law. If I thought it was blatantly immoral, I’d have to resign. It’s wrong, but not immoral.’ ”
This is outrageous. Manafort spent a career lobbying for arms for clients who burned children alive; he represented gangsters who broke democracies and whose thievery destroyed health systems. He literally created corruption as we know it in Washington. https://t.co/twvaSHyNWo
— Franklin Foer (@FranklinFoer) March 8, 2019