Paul Manafort to be sentenced Thursday; faces 25 years in prison

Paul Manafort to be sentenced Thursday; faces 25 years in prison

Paul Manafort to be sentenced Thursday; faces 25 years in prison

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

While prosecutors had not recommended a specific sentence, they had cited federal sentencing guidelines that called for 19-1/2 to 24 years in prison. But US District Judge T.S. Elliss said the sentencing guidelines were excessive and would create "an unwarranted disparity" with other cases.

He asked the judge "for compassion", adding, "I know it is my conduct that has brought me here". Even Ellis, at the outset of the case, speculated that prosecutors' true motive in prosecuting Manafort was to pressure him to provide evidence against Trump. "He was well educated, professionally successful, and financially well off".

Mueller's team issued a scathing rebuttal, stating that Manafort had breached a plea agreement reached with the government and lied repeatedly to investigators. He has been jailed leading up to his sentencing.

The sentencing hearing on Thursday will focus on the financial crimes Manafort committed when he hid millions in offshore accounts in Cyprus and elsewhere while failing to report income to the Internal Revenue Service. Ellis rejected those efforts.

Manafort has also been charged in Washington with money laundering, witness tampering and other offences and faces separate sentencing in that case.

Manafort's conviction in August made him the first campaign associate of Trump found guilty by a jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

Manafort is the only one of the 34 people and three companies charged by Mueller to have gone to trial. Mueller's prosecutors have so far not taken a position on what Manafort's sentence should be, although they are expected to weigh in during the Washington hearing on whether the sentences should be concurrent or consecutive.

Paul Manafort to be sentenced in Va. court

Prosecutors had argued in their sentencing memo that there was scant reason to go easy on Manafort.

The verdict marked a dramatic fall for Manafort, a savvy political operative who advised USA presidents as well as foreign leaders.

"The defendant blames everyone from the special counsel's office to his Ukrainian clients for his own criminal choices", prosecutors wrote in a final court filing earlier this week to the Judge.

That meeting at Trump Tower has become the centrepiece of the Special Counsel's investigation into the campaign's alleged collusion with Russian Federation. Trump has denied collusion and obstruction and Russian Federation has denied election interference.

Manafort was convicted in August of eight financial crimes in the Virginia case.

Thursday's sentencing in Virginia is just one of two Manafort faces. The former Trump presidential campaign chairman was acquitted on 10 additional charges of foreign banking and bank fraud when the jury could not come to a consensus.

Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at the Federal Court for the sentencing of his client, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

In a 17-page court filing submitted late Tuesday to the U.S. District Court in Virginia, Mueller pushed back against Manafort's assertion that he has accepted responsibility for his crimes and deserves a reduced sentence, arguing that the longtime Republican consultant shows a "lack of remorse". CNN's Evan Perez described them as "astonished" when Ellis handed down this sentence.

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