Manafort's attorneys say he should get less than 10 years in prison

Manafort's attorneys say he should get less than 10 years in prison

Defense attorneys for Paul ManafortPaul John Manafort21 questions for Robert Mueller Why did Mueller allow his investigation to continue for two years? Manafort transferred to minimum security federal prison MORE say President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE's former campaign chairman should receive a prison sentence that's significantly less than the maximum 10 years allowed under the law for the two crimes he pleaded guilty to in D.C.

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In a sentencing memo to the federal judge presiding over his criminal case, attorneys say Manafort, 69, has already been punished substantially by having to forfeit most of his assets and that any additional period of incarceration would likely amount to a life sentence given his age and health concerns.

"Mr. Manafort, who over the decades has served four U.S. presidents and has no prior criminal history, is presented to this Court by the government as a hardened criminal who 'brazenly' violated the law and deserves no mercy," Manafort's attorneys said in the Monday night filing.

"But this case is not about murder, drug cartels, organized crime, the Madoff Ponzi scheme or the collapse of Enron."

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE in a Saturday filing took no position on how much time Manafort should receive, but argued he does not 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.

But Manafort’s attorneys disagree. They said a lengthy jail sentence is not called for in this case. They said their client has been devastated personally, professionally and financially as a result of this prosecution.

“The charges and intense negative media coverage surrounding them have destroyed his career,” they said.

“Mr. Manafort, who was always proud of his ability to provide financial support to his immediate and extended family, is now in the process of forfeiting the vast majority of his assets in order to make amends.”

Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges — conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice — as part of a deal with prosecutors to avoid a second criminal trial in D.C. As part of the plea deal, Manafort agreed to fully cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation and in return prosecutors said they would ask the court for a lesser sentence. But Manafort voided the agreement by lying to the FBI, the special counsel’s office and a federal grand jury.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in D.C. on March 13.

He is also due in court on March 8 for sentencing on the bank and tax fraud and other financial crimes he was convicted of over the summer in a federal court in Northern Virginia.

The defense told Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the Monday filing that Manafort’s sentence in D.C. should run concurrently with the sentence he receives in Virginia.

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

Manafort was one of the first Trump associates to be charged in Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

But his defense team noted in their filing that Manafort has not been charged with any crimes related to Russian collusion. The charges against Manafort stemmed from his work lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

“Mr. Manafort’s work involved interests outside of Russia and his efforts to help Ukraine attain membership in the European Union was to further the interests of Ukrainian oligarchs who were trying to protect their assets from Russia,” his attorneys said. 

“Nevertheless, these ‘garden-variety’ and ‘esoteric’ offenses have led to Mr. Manafort being widely vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades.”

— Updated 10:41 p.m.