National Security

Mueller recommends Manafort serve at least 19 years in prison

Prosecutors working in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office say they agree with a pre-sentencing report that calls for Paul Manafort to spend anywhere from 19 to 24 years in prison.

Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last summer.

Prosecutors in a Feb. 15 filing said that they take no position as to the specific sentence that should be imposed, but said they agree with the guidelines analysis in the Pre-sentence Investigation Report and its calculation of the defendant’s offense level, which carries a sentence of 19.5 to more than 24 years in prison.

That calculation also calls for a fine between $50,000 to $24.4 million, a term of supervised release of up to five years, restitution in the amount of $24.8 million and forfeiture in the amount of $4.4 million.

Prosecutors said that for more than a decade, Manafort repeatedly violated the law and chose to engage in a sophisticated scheme to hide millions of dollars from U.S. authorities.{mosads}

“And when his foreign income stream dissipated in 2015, he chose to engage in a series of bank frauds in the United States to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, at the expense of various financial institutions,” prosecutors wrote in the filling.

“Manafort chose to do this for no other reason than greed, evidencing his belief that the law does not apply to him. Manafort solicited numerous professionals and others to reap his ill-gotten gains. The sentence in this case must take into account the gravity of this conduct, and serve to both specifically deter Manafort and those who would commit a similar series of crimes.” 

Judge T.S. Ellis III had originally planned to sentence Manafort on Feb. 8, but canceled the sentencing hearing last month. He said a dispute in Manafort’s criminal case in the District of Columbia could have an impact on his sentence.

At the time, Manafort was fighting accusations from Mueller that he had breached his plea deal by lying to federal prosecutors. He claims any misstatements were not intentional.

Manafort had agreed in September to plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy and fully cooperate with the special counsel’s investigations to avoid a second criminal trial. But Mueller claimed in November that Manafort had lied in interviews about a range of topics.

After hearing arguments from both sides in two sealed proceedings, Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Wednesday ruled that Manafort had in fact intentionally lied to the FBI, the special counsel’s office and a grand jury about a payment from a company to a law firm and his interactions and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business associate who is suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence.

Berman Jackson also found that Manafort intentionally made false statements that were material to another DOJ investigation. But she said the government had not established sufficient evidence to prove he intentionally lied about his contacts with the Trump administration or Kilimnik’s role in a scheme to tamper with witnesses.

With the dispute settled, Mueller said there is no reason to further delay sentencing in Manafort’s federal criminal case in Virginia.

“Because the D.C. court has determined that Manafort intentionally lied to the government, and the breach of the agreement was conceded by the defendant and found by the D.C. court, the government submits there are no outstanding issues warranting delay in proceeding to sentencing before this court,” he said in a status report filed in court on Friday.

Manafort was convicted in August on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. The jury, however, could not reach a consensus on 10 other charges.

— Updated: Feb. 25 at 10:37 p.m.

Tags Paul Manafort Robert Mueller
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