WASHINGTON – Prosecutors urged a federal judge not to reduce the sentence for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, from the 17- to nearly 22-year term in guidelines for his conspiracy case in the District of Columbia.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team said the federal guidelines shouldn’t be reduced because of Manafort’s lack of cooperation after pleading guilty to two charges. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort lied repeatedly to investigators despite the cooperation he promised as part of a plea agreement.
“For over a decade, Manafort repeatedly and brazenly violated the law,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann wrote in the 25-page sentencing memo, which was accompanied by 800 pages of partially redacted exhibits. “His crimes continued up through the time he was first indicted in October 2017 and remarkably went unabated even after indictment.”
The case has many aggravating factors and no mitigating ones, the memo said.
The filing was made public on Saturday hours after the Friday deadline. Manafort’s lawyers will respond to the filing Monday. Jackson scheduled sentencing on March 13.
Whatever she decides could be irrelevant after Manafort is sentenced March 8 in Virginia on eight counts of tax and bank fraud. Prosecutors in that case recommended that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis put Manafort in prison for nearly 20 to 24 years, with fines, restitution and property forfeiture totaling up to $53 million. The sentence could essentially become a life sentence for 69-year-old Manafort.
The cases stemmed from when Manafort served as a political consultant for a pro-Russian faction in Ukraine during the decade before he joined Trump’s campaign from March to August 2016.
Manafort was a key figure in Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election because he ranked high in Trump’s campaign and dealt routinely with Russian contacts. He attended the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with Russians offering damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Manafort’s partner in the Ukraine work, Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik, also faces conspiracy charges in the D.C. case. Court filings described Manafort meeting more than he acknowledged with Kilimnik during the Trump campaign and sharing polling data.
But none of the Manafort charges deals with his work on the Trump campaign. And Trump personally denied knowing about Manafort sharing polling data.
Manafort was convicted in August in Virginia of hiding tens of millions of dollars in overseas banks and corporations, to avoid paying taxes. His guilty plea in September in D.C. dealt with conspiracy charges for failing to report lobbying for Ukraine and for tampering with witnesses to get them to change their stories.
Manafort may find it difficult to pay the fines and restitution. He has already forfeited properties worth an estimated $27 million, including a $7.3 million compound in the Hamptons and a $3.8 million apartment in Trump Tower.
Despite his convictions, Trump has lauded Manafort for his refusal “to break.” The president, however, has not indicated whether he would issue a pardon for his one-time campaign chief. One of Mueller’s prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, told a judge this month that one of the reasons Manafort might have lied after promising to cooperate was to “augment his chances for a pardon.”
More about Paul Manafort’s legal troubles:
Mueller’s office seeks prison sentence of 20 years or more for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort
Yes, the Mueller investigation is costly. But the millions seized from Manafort have it on track to break even
Judge: Paul Manafort lied to the FBI after agreeing to cooperate in the Russia probe