Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to 47 months in federal prison for tax and bank fraud, a significantly shorter sentence than prosecutors had sought.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis handed down the sentence in federal court in Virginia Thursday afternoon. He said Manafort committed "undeniably serious" crimes and expressed surprise that he did not "express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct."
But Ellis also said the government's recommendation of 19.5 to 24 years behind bars was "unwarranted" and "excessive," adding that Manafort has "lived an otherwise blameless life."
However Manafort could see more time added to his Virginia sentence when he appears in at his second sentencing hearing next week in the District of Columbia, where he pleaded guilty to two felonies, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years. On Thursday, Manafort's lawyer asked Ellis if the District sentence and the Virginia sentence could be served concurrently, but Ellis said he'd defer to Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is ruling in the District case.
The Virginia sentence includes three years of supervised release after his prison term. Manafort must also pay $24 million in restitution and a $50,000 fine. He will receive credit for time served and be held in a federal facility in Cumberland, Maryland.
An attorney from special counsel Robert Mueller's office told the court Manafort "failed to accept responsibility and is not remorseful." In recent weeks Manafort's legal team had requested a "significantly" lower sentence than the length recommended by prosecutors.
Before learning his fate, Manafort addressed the court, telling Ellis his life is in "shambles" and asking for leniency. "I feel the pain and shame. I say all of this to let the court know I will never put myself in questionable circumstances in the future," he said."
"The last two years have been the most difficult of my life," Manafort said. "To say I am humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement."
Manafort's tone was somber, but as he sped through his address to the court, he did not sound remorseful, not once apologizing. This did not escape the notice of Ellis, who said he was "surprised I did not hear you express regret." He also instructed Manafort to "reflect" on this prior to his appearance before Judge Jackson next week for his sentencing in the District.
Manafort, 69, was wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair for Thursday's hearing, holding a cane and wearing a green prison jumpsuit. He appeared much thinner than he was when he was first taken into custody in June 2018.
Manafort was convicted last year on eight counts, including tax fraud and bank fraud, after a trial in Virginia. Prosecutors said he hid millions of dollars of income for his work on behalf of foreign governments and misled financial institutions to finance a lavish lifestyle.
After his conviction in Virginia, Manafort struck a plea deal to avoid a second trial on conspiracy charges in Washington, D.C. A federal judge determined in February he had breached his plea agreement by lying to the government.
The sentencing hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, began just after 4 p.m.
With reporting by Clare Hymes, Robert Legare, Steven Portnoy and Kathryn Watson. Emily Tillett contributed to this report.
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Manafort sentenced to 47 months in prison
6:57 p.m.: Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison, a significantly shorter sentence than prosecutors had sought.
Judge T.S. Ellis said Manafort committed "undeniably serious" crimes and expressed surprise that Manafort did not "express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct."
"You should have remorse for that," Ellis said.
Ellis suggested Manafort stole more than $6 million from his fellow tax payers, calling it "theft of money from everyone who pays."
But Ellis said that Manafort "lived an otherwise blameless life. "Mr. Manafort has engaged in lots of good things," he said, though he added the caveat that that fact "can't erase his criminal activity."
Ultimately, Judge Ellis determined that the guidelines, which called for a sentence of 19.5-24 years, were "excessive." "It's far more important, in my view, that this case serve as a beacon to warn others," Judge Ellis said, just before imposing a sentence of 47 months on Manafort."
Manafort addresses the court
6:18 p.m.: Manafort addressed the court during his sentencing hearing, saying "the last two years have been the most difficult of my life."
"To say I am humiliated and shamed would be a gross understatement," Manafort said, adding that it has been most difficult to have been separated from his family.
"My life, professionally and financially, is in shambles," Manafort said. "I feel the pain and shame. I say all of this to let the court know I will never put myself in questionable circumstances in the future."
Manafort thanked Judge T.S. Ellis for dealing with all of the attention that the case has brought, and ended by asking Ellis for compassion. Manafort was seated in a wheelchair and spoke in even tones as he addressed the court.
Manafort took a moment to thank his friends and family during his statement. His wife, his son-in-law, and two friends were sitting directly behind him. His wife did not express much emotion throughout the hearing, but seemed visibly morose as her husband's lawyers approached her before leaving the courtroom.
Still, Manafort did not offer an apology or sound remorseful.
"[Manafort] failed to accept responsibility and is not remorseful," prosecutor Greg Andres said.
Ellis called a recess after Manafort addressed the court.
Judge still hearing objections
5:03 p.m.: About an hour after the hearing began, Judge T.S. Ellis was still hearing objections from both sides about their pre-sentence reports.
Manafort's attorneys took issue with the special counsel's designation of a fraudulent but unprocessed $5.3 million loan as an "intended loss." The government argued Manafort's intent in pursuing the fraudulent loan should be considered in sentencing, while the defense said it shouldn't.
Manafort, sitting in court in a green prison uniform, appeared to be relatively relaxed, at one point laughing with his attorney.
Ellis said he will hear about Manafort's offense level and criminal history before final arguments. Manafort will be given the opportunity to speak at that time.
Reporting by Rob Legare.
Manafort's argument for a reduced sentence
Manafort's lawyers argued in a sentencing memo filed Friday that the charges are outside the special counsel's mandate to investigate Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election. They pointed out Manafort was not charged with any crimes related to Russian collusion, and claimed his prosecution was instead meant to pressure him "to provide incriminating information about others."
Special counsel Robert Mueller's office submitted a response to Manafort's sentencing memo this week, arguing Manafort has a history of criminal conduct which should not be overlooked. Mueller's office also said he should receive no credit for pleading guilty in to avoid a second trial in Washington, D.C.
"He neither pled promptly nor provided complete and honest cooperation. He also has not paid back any of the taxes owed," the memo said. Manafort, according to the filing, still owes over $6 million.
The memo pushed back against the assertion that Manafort's cooperation should reduce his sentence, contending that "consideration of his lies to the government and grand jury are aggravating factors and an additional basis for the denial of any reduction for acceptance of responsibility."
Prosecutors also noted Manafort lied to the government and the grand jury as recently as last year. "Such actions are inconsistent with learning any positive lesson from his criminal conduct and proof that the defendant poses a serious risk of recidivism."
Reporting by Kathryn Watson.
How Manafort violated his plea deal
A federal judge ruled last month Manafort had breached his plea agreement with Mueller's office by lying to the FBI, a federal grand jury and the special counsel. "[T]he Office of Special Counsel is no longer bound by its obligations under the plea agreement," Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a ruling after a hearing in Washington.
The ruling means the special counsel was released from its promise to support a reduced sentence for Manafort in exchange for his cooperation. Manafort faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for these two felony conspiracy counts.
Manafort's attorneys had vehemently opposed the government's contention that Manafort had lied, filing a memorandum with the court arguing there was "no basis" to determine he had intentionally misled investigators.
In November 2018, Mueller's office told the court Manafort had lied to investigators while he was supposed to be cooperating about five aspects of the government's investigation, most notably about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political operative with ties to the Kremlin. Jackson ruled Manafort lied to the government about three of those instances.
Reporting by Clare Hymes and Rob Legare.
The charges against Manafort
In August, Manafort was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud.
The jury was unable to reach consensus on 10 of the 18 counts in the bank fraud trial. Judge T.S. Ellis III declared a mistrial on the 10 unresolved counts but accepted the jury's verdict on the remaining eight counts.
Of the 18 counts, five counts were related to false income tax returns, four counts of failing to file foreign bank account reports, four counts of bank fraud and five counts of bank fraud conspiracy. The government alleged Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars in income and falsified records to enrich himself and live a life of luxury.
The Manafort trial was the first to stem from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to Trump associates, although the trial did not involve charges related to work on the campaign -- something Mr. Trump and his allies have been careful to note.
The president has distanced himself from Manafort, claiming he "came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time," but hasn't criticized the former Trump campaign manager publicly and has suggested the situation is unfair.
Emily Tillett and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.