Booker slams Manafort sentence: Criminal justice system 'preys upon the most vulnerable citizens'

Booker slams Manafort sentence: Criminal justice system 'preys upon the most vulnerable citizens'
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Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Booker: Barr's suggestion of spying on Trump campaign 'eroded' public's trust MORE (D-N.J.), a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president and advocate for criminal justice reform, slammed Thursday’s 47-month prison sentence for former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortIt is wrong to say 'no collusion' The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Nadler: I don't understand why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr., others in Trump Tower meeting MORE.

Booker, who introduced the landmark First Step Act last year to implement a series of prison reforms, said he was “ticked off” about what he said was a light sentence for Manafort, but that he was not surprised.

“One of my friends says we have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. And there are people from neighborhoods like mine in America, who get convictions for things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing,” Booker, who lives in Newark, N.J., said, referring to smoking marijuana.

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“We are a nation right now that churns into our criminal justice system the most vulnerable people,” he added during an appearance of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” set to air Friday night. “In our country, we prey upon the most vulnerable citizens in our nation. Poor folks, mentally ill folks, addicted folks and, overwhelmingly, black and brown folks.”

A federal judge Thursday sentenced Manafort to nearly four years in prison on eight charges of bank and tax fraud, but his sentence moving forward will be cut to three years and two months after he was given credit for time served. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested Manafort be sentenced to 19 1/2 to 24 years.

Democrats, many of whom have highlighted inequities in the criminal justice system, were quick to rebuke the sentence.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? New Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' MORE (D-Minn.), another 2020 candidate and a former prosecutor for Minnesota’s most populous county, said Manafort’s case showed that there are “two systems of justice.” 

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? MORE (D-Calif.), one of the current front-runners in the 2020 primary field and a former California attorney general, responded that “The justice system is broken in America.”