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 BookerBiden leads, Warren and Sanders tied for second in new poll The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Biden, Harris set for second Democratic debate showdown 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 ManafortWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller Top Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller 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: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Biden, Harris set for second Democratic debate showdown Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator 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 HarrisBiden leads, Warren and Sanders tied for second in new poll Analysis: Harris, Buttigieg and Trump lead among California donations The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants 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.”