Manafort sentenced to additional 43 months in prison; new state charges announced

Court Sketches from Paul Manafort Sentence 3/7/2019

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort has been charged in a new criminal case not even an hour after learning his prison sentence for federal crimes.

The Manhattan district attorney on Wednesday charged the former Trump campaign chairman with mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy, the prosecutor’s office announced.

A federal judge had minutes earlier determined Manafort will spend a total of 7.5 years in federal prison for a decade’s worth of financial and lobbying crimes and obstruction of justice.

“No one is beyond the law in New York,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance in New York, according to a statement. A grand jury there approved the indictment on March 7.

Manafort has not yet entered a plea in the Manhattan case. He has made broad admissions and apologized for his crimes in the two federal cases.

The news comes less than an hour after a federal judge sentenced Manafort to an additional three and one-half years of prison.That makes seven and one-half years for Manafort, coming on top of the roughly four-year term he received last week in a separate case in Virginia.

“It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort before sentencing him on conspiracy charges related to his foreign lobbying work and witness tampering.

Manafort asked for mercy, saying the criminal charges against him have “taken everything from me already.” He pleaded with the judge not to impose any additional time beyond the sentence he had received last week.

“I am sorry for what I have done and all the activities that have gotten us here today,” Manafort said in a steady voice as he read from a written statement. “While I cannot undo the past, I will ensure that the future will be very different.”

The 69-year-old, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, said he was the primary caregiver of his wife and wanted the chance for them to resume their life together.

“She needs me and I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate,” Manafort said. “This case has taken everything from me already — my properties, my cash, my life insurance, my trust accounts for my children and my grandchildren, and more.”

The hearing was a milestone moment in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election campaign. Manafort was among the first people charged in the investigation, and though the allegations did not relate to his work for Trump, his foreign entanglements and business relationship with a man the U.S. says has ties to Russian intelligence have made him a pivotal figure in the probe.

His plea for leniency followed prosecutor Andrew Weissmann’s scathing characterization of crimes that the government said spanned more than a decade and continued even while Manafort was awaiting trial. The prosecutor said Manafort took steps to conceal his foreign lobbying work, laundered millions of dollars to fund a lavish lifestyle and then, while on house arrest, coached other witnesses to lie on his behalf.

“I believe that is not reflective of someone who has learned a harsh lesson. It is not a reflection of remorse,” Weissmann said. “It is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass, that someone in that position would choose to make that decision at that moment.”

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing suggested Manafort was being unduly punished because of the “media frenzy” generated by the appointment of a special counsel.

“That results in a very harsh process for the defendant,” Downing said.

Wednesday’s sentencing comes in a week of activity for the investigation. Mueller’s prosecutors on Tuesday night updated a judge on the status of cooperation provided by one defendant, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and are expected to do the same later in the week for another.

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