DA Vance indicts Manafort on pardon-proof mortgage fraud charges

Geraldine Edwards
March 14, 2019

Manafort pleaded guilty in an agreement with Mueller's team to fully cooperate with the Russian Federation probe, but Jackson ruled he violated the terms of the plea deal by lying to investigators. Last week, he was sentenced for another term over tax and bank fraud.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to 73 months - just over six years - in prison for the conspiracy charges, but said 30 months of that would run concurrently with his previous sentence.

Manafort asked for mercy, saying the criminal charges against him have "taken everything from me already". She could also fine him several million dollars more than he has already forfeited to the United States government as part of his plea.

But even if President Trump pardons Manafort at the federal level, he could still face prison time at the state level if a Vance/Manhattan DA prosecution is successful. Please do not take us away from each other for any longer than the 47 months imposed last week...

The latest sentencing arises from two conspiracy charges Manafort pleaded guilty to past year.

Kathleen Manafort attended her husband's hearing on Wednesday
Kathleen Manafort attended her husband's hearing on Wednesday

Whatever Jackson's ruling, the possibility of a presidential pardon - a prospect Trump has not ruled out - will likely continue to hang over the Manafort situation, lawyers said.

Kathleen Manafort attended her husband's hearing on Wednesday. At last week's sentencing, Manafort wore a green prison jumpsuit emblazoned with the words "Alexandria Inmate" on the back.

But Ellis made clear during the sentencing hearing that he found the government's sentencing guidelines unduly harsh and declared his own sentence "sufficiently punitive".

The judge ruled earlier this year that Manafort breached his plea deal by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors and grand jurors during more than 50 hours of interviews.

"It had to do with his remorse", said Napolitano.

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"He engaged in crime again and again". "He served to undermine, not promote, American ideals of honesty, transparency, and playing by the rules".

Manafort's lawyers noted that none of the Mueller's charges against him related to the special counsel's core mandate: collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. "I ask you to think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate", he said.

Jackson, in contrast to Ellis, wasn't almost as sympathetic to Manafort.

The New York City case not only added to Manafort's legal woes but also multiplied them.

The district attorney's office led by Vance has been investigating Manafort since 2017, and prosecutors in recent weeks subpoenaed Manafort's longtime accounting firm for documents, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

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The next month, Manafort faced another trial in the D.C. federal court, on charges that included failing to register as a foreign lobbying agent for the government of Ukraine.

It also comes as expectations grow that Mueller will soon wrap up his 22-month-old investigation by submitting a final report on his findings to Attorney General William Barr. And neither of the judges offered any conclusions about whether there was collusion with Russian Federation in the 2016 campaign.

Manafort is one of the 34 people and three companies charged by Mueller.

The prosecutors are expected to do the same later in the week for Rick Gates, a Manafort business associate and former key Trump campaign aide, who pleaded guilty to fraud and lying to investigators.

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