National Security

Manafort to be sentenced for bank, tax fraud in Virginia on March 8

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, will be sentenced for bank and tax fraud convictions by a federal judge in Virginia on March 8.

Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in August, charges brought against him in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference. 

Late last week, Mueller’s prosecutors recommended Manafort serve at least 19 years in prison for the crimes and pay a fine in the range of $50,000 to $24.4 million. 

Manafort separately pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges in September to avert a second federal trial in Washington, D.C., agreeing to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation. The charges all stem from Manafort’s lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

Manafort was viewed as a key witness for Mueller as he probes potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, however his cooperation deal broke down dramatically in the months after his plea as the special counsel accused him of lying to federal investigators about numerous subjects in breach of his plea agreement. Manafort’s defense attorneys disputed the allegations, saying he told the truth to the best of his ability and did not intentionally lie.

Manafort’s sentencing in Virginia was originally set for mid-February, however Judge T.S. Ellis III postponed it in late January until the dispute over the lying allegations was resolved.

Last week, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing Manafort’s case in D.C., ruled that Manafort intentionally lied about subjects that were “material to the investigation,” including his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian business associate who federal agents suspect has ties to Kremlin intelligence.

Ellis ordered Thursday that Manafort appear in court on March 8 for his sentencing at 9 a.m. in Alexandria, Va. The judge also ordered that Manafort’s defense attorneys submit their sentencing memorandum on or before March 1. Mueller is also permitted to submit a reply to that document.

Manafort will separately be sentenced in D.C. on March 13.

News of Manafort’s sentencing in Virginia comes amid intense speculation that Mueller is close to wrapping up his nearly two-year investigation. Trump has long denied allegations of “collusion” between his campaign and Moscow and accused the special counsel of running a partisan “witch hunt” against him. 

Tags Donald Trump Paul Manafort Robert Mueller

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