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Paul Manafort asks for shorter prison sentence, citing poor health, remorse

Mueller details criminal actions by Manafort in memo

Attorneys for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort have asked that his sentence in his District of Columbia court case be lower than guidelines calculated by the special counsel -- a range of 17 1/2 to nearly 22 years -- and that his sentence be served concurrently with that of the other case brought against him in the Eastern District of Virginia. Manafort was indicted on a total of 25 counts in two jurisdictions. He was found guilty on eight of the counts against him in Virginia, where he'll be sentenced first in Virginia, on Mar. 7. He made a plea deal after that case concluded in order to avoid the second trial in the District, but was found to have violated the terms of that deal when he lied to the FBI, the special counsel and a federal grand jury. His sentencing in the District case will be Mar. 13.

The charges against him ranged from conspiracy to launder money to acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal. 

In an 86-page sentencing memo, Manafort's lawyers refuted some of the allegations made in the special counsel's memo and told the judge that Manafort's health is deterioriating in prison, noting that at one point he had to be hospitalized to treat his gout. 

Hoping to keep Manafort from spending the rest of his life in prison, they argued that he has been "widely vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades" and said that he's "deeply remorseful" for his crimes. 

jury convicted him last year in the Virginia on eight counts of financial crimes including bank and tax fraud. He separately pleaded guilty to two additional felonies, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy against the U.S.

The special counsel has also recommended that Manafort pay a fine of up to $24 million, restitution of more than $24 million and forfeiture in the amount of more than $4 million.

Here are highlights from Manafort's attorneys' sentencing memo:

  • Special counsel's mandate: Attorneys for Manafort argue that he is not being charged with any crimes within the special counsel's mandate, including any ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Attorneys say his "garden-variety" and "esoteric" offenses have subjected Manafort to being "widely vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades."
  • Use of FARA: They argue that Mueller's use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) "involves a magnitude of harshness previously unknown in the enforcement of FARA." While they conceded he should not have concealed the relevant activities from the government, the use of FARA here is unusual. It's the first time, they say, that the government has relied upon a failure to file FARA registration forms "as the predicate to charge a money laundering conspiracy." They also pointed out the this is only the seventh FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) case brought since 1966.
  • Helping Ukraine: Manafort's lawyers said he "spent a lifetime promoting American democratic values and assisting emerging democracies to adopt reforms necessary to become a part of Western society." They wrote of his work in Ukraine that he was working to help usher them out of the Soviet era and into a modern independent country, including helping them into the EU.
  • His health: Lawyers argue that Manafort's age makes him "vulnerable to abuse and predation" citing medical issues like "severe gout" and a potential thyroid issue for which he's undergoing testing. They claim a lengthy period of incarceration would impact his physical, mental and emotional health
  • Manafort's wife: Manafort's wife Kathleen describes their relationship as a "great team" and a "partnership of equals" that has shared many "memories, challenges, and sacrifices."
  • Manafort's daughters: Andrea Manafort Shand, wrote, "As a father, he has not just taught me the importance of being generous or selfless, but he has shown me what that really means and how to practice it. This is something that I hope to emulate with my own children." His other daughter, Jessica Bond (she changed her surname to her mother's maiden name), did not submit a letter.
  • His remorse: "He is deeply remorseful, has suffered almost unprecedented public shame, and he and his family will have to live with the collateral consequences of his conduct for the rest of their lives," his lawyers said.
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