Woman sentenced to five years for voting illegally calls out ‘disparity’ after Manafort gets four

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Crystal Mason, the Texas woman who came into prominence last year after she received a five-year prison sentence for voting illegally in the 2016 elections, said there is too much “disparity” in the justice system in the wake of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s four-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors had recommended that Manafort, who was convicted of bank and tax fraud violations, serve on the higher end of sentencing guidelines, which were from 19 1/2 to 24 years.

{mosads}“One of the main things the Judge said was ‘the guidelines are excessive.’ Unfortunately for those of us who can’t hire a million dollar attorney, nobody seems to believe our guidelines are ‘excessive.’ Thus the disparity in the ‘justice’ system,” Mason said in an email to HuffPost shortly after Manafort’s sentencing this week.

Mason was thrust into headlines last year after she was convicted of casting a provisional ballot in 2016 while she was on supervised release for a 2011 tax fraud conviction. 

In Texas, convicted felons are not allowed to vote until they finish out their full sentence. 

At the time, Mason said she did not intentionally break the law and was unaware she was ineligible to vote. Her case drew attention from many civil rights advocates and lawmakers who argued the punishment was grossly unfair.

“I only had 10 months left on supervised release and I was given another 10 months in prison and 26 months on supervised release,” Mason told HuffPost, adding that what she “would like is for Trump to review my situation and pardon me.”

She is one of many to criticize Manafort’s sentence as being too lenient.

Manafort, who was convicted in August of eight criminal charges of bank and tax fraud uncovered in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, was sentenced to 47 months in prison by federal Judge T.S. Ellis III on Thursday evening.

Ellis argued that the former campaign manager had lived an otherwise “blameless” life before his crimes.

Mason, who reported to prison in September and hopes to be released soon to a halfway house, also took aim at Leslie McCrae Dowless, who was indicted last week on criminal charges after he was said to have illegally collected absentee ballots for a Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina, Mark Harris.

Mason told HuffPost it was unfair that Dowless was free while she has to stay in prison.

“Nothing have happen[ed] to them,” she said. “I am sitting in prison over a provisional ballot. Are you serious.”

Tags Mark Harris Paul Manafort Robert Mueller
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