Manafort doesn't deserve leniency, Mueller filing argues

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE says in a new filing that he’s not taking a position on how much time Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLobbyist Tony Podesta returns to work for Huawei Former bank CEO convicted of bribery in scheme to land Trump admin job Trial begins for Chicago banker who exchanged loans with Manafort for Trump job MORE should spend in prison for charges in Washington, D.C., but told the judge presiding over his case that he doesn’t deserve leniency.

“Nothing about Manafort’s upbringing, schooling, legal education, or family and financial circumstances mitigates his criminality,” Mueller said in a heavily redacted sentencing memo released Saturday, which details Manafort’s crimes.

In the document, originally filed under seal on Friday night, Mueller said that the onetime Trump campaign chairman agreed in his plea deal that anything less than the government’s 17.5 to 22-year estimated sentence is not warranted.


The statutory maximum for the two counts of conspiracy Manafort agreed to plead guilty to as part of a plea deal to avoid a second criminal trial in D.C is 10 years.

Mueller did not take a position on whether Manafort’s sentence in D.C. should run consecutively or concurrently with the sentence he's facing for separate charges in federal district court in the Eastern District of Virginia.

"Based on his relevant sentencing conduct, Manafort presents many aggravating sentencing factors and no warranted mitigating factors," the filing states.

"His criminal actions were bold, some of which were committed while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was on bail from this Court," it adds.

Prosecutors argued that Manafort's multiple lies to FBI agents and investigators working for the special counsel's office after his plea agreement demonstrated a "hardened adherence to committing crimes and a lack of remorse," while not elaborating on the content of Manafort's falsehoods.

"For over a decade, Manafort repeatedly and brazenly violated the law," the sentencing memo reads. "His crimes continued up through the time he was first indicted in October 2017 and remarkably went unabated even after indictment."

"Manafort engaged in witness tampering while on bail and, even after he was caught for engaging in that scheme, Manafort committed the additional crimes of perjury and making false statements after making his guilty pleas herein," it added.

Manafort had agreed to fully cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser sentence, but Mueller said he blew the deal by telling multiple lies about an array of subjects.

After the parties disputed the allegations in two sealed hearings, District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled last week that Manafort had in fact violated the agreement by lying about subjects that were “material to the investigation.”

She found that he 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 Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik. She also found he had intentionally made false statements that were material to another Justice Department investigation.

Manafort, 69, will get his chance to present facts beyond his crimes for Jackson to consider before sentencing. That filing was originally due Friday, but Manafort’s defense attorneys earlier this week asked for more time after D.C. was hit with several inches of snow on Wednesday. Manafort’s attorneys said the weather prevented them from getting a final draft to their client for his input and review before the filing deadline.

Jackson gave the defense until midnight on Monday to file the memorandum.

Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in his D.C. case on March 13.

He is, however, due in court before then. The judge presiding over his separate criminal case in the Eastern District of Virginia has scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 8 on the eight felony bank and tax fraud charges Manafort was convicted of by a jury over the summer.

Federal sentencing guidelines call for Manafort to serve anywhere from 19 to 24 years in prison for his conviction in Virginia.

Manafort is one of several Trump associates ensnared in Mueller’s investigation since it began nearly two years ago.

He was among the first charged in connection with the probe in October 2017 with crimes stemming from his lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

His case has been at the center of a probe that has dogged the White House for nearly two years and endured constant attacks from President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE.

Some have speculated the president, who denies collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, could look to offer Manafort a pardon. Bloomberg reported Friday that prosecutors in New York state had prepared a criminal case against him in the event he was offered a pardon.

Manafort’s March sentencing in dual courthouses will be a milestone for Mueller’s office, bringing one of its most high-profile cases to a close. Meanwhile, there is intense speculation that the special counsel investigation is close to wrapping up, with various news outlets reporting this week that the Justice Department was preparing to receive Mueller’s final report as soon as next week.

However, a Justice Department official told The Hill on Friday that Mueller's report to the Justice Department will not be delivered next week, indicating that the end of the probe is at least a week away.