Five things to know about Manafort's sentencing

The federal criminal cases against President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE’s former campaign chairman ended Wednesday with the second of two dramatic sentencing hearings in the past week.

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, who turns 70 on April 1, was sentenced to a total of 7 ½ years in prison for crimes uncovered during 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’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.


Here’s what you need to know about his punishment.

How much time he will serve

The federal judge presiding over the criminal trial in Virginia sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison last week for his conviction on eight criminal charges, far less than the 19 ½ to 24 years recommended under federal guidelines.

In that sentence, Manafort got 24 months for each of the five counts of filing false income tax returns, 30 months for one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts and 47 months for each of the two counts of bank fraud. 

But Judge T.S. Ellis III, who was appointed by former President Reagan, ordered those terms to run concurrently. Had he made them consecutive sentences, Manafort likely would be spending much more time behind bars. Ellis also gave Manafort nine months off for time already served. 

On Wednesday, a federal district court judge in Washington added 43 months to Manafort’s prison stay. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by former President Obama, sentenced Manafort to 60 months for one count of conspiracy against the United States, which included conspiracy to launder money, commit tax fraud, lie to the Department of Justice, fail to file foreign bank accounts and fail to register as a foreign lobbyist.

But since Jackson allowed that time to run concurrently with the sentence Manafort received for his Virginia conviction on federal tax fraud and failing to file foreign bank accounts, he will spend only 30 additional months in prison for that charge.


Jackson then gave Manafort another 13 months in prison for one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses. She ordered that time to be served consecutively to his other sentence.

Between the two cases, Manafort was given 81 months in prison. He will serve out that time at a medium-security federal prison in Cumberland, Md.

On top of his sentence, he was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $24 million in restitution.

Possibility for early release

Manafort could get time off his sentence for good behavior, but he is not eligible for parole. Federal prisoners serving more than a year can get up to 54 days off their sentence annually if they display “exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations.”

Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a prison reform group, said the credit is closer to 47 days a year under the Bureau of Prisons's calculation.

“It’s sort of used as a way to hopefully control their behavior and inspire them to be relatively law abiding and rule abiding in the Bureau of Prisons,” Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C., said of the rules surrounding good-conduct time.

But there is no possibility of parole. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 eliminated parole for federal crimes committed after Nov. 1, 1987.

Upon release, Manafort would have to serve three years of supervised release under the court order.

Convictions and plea deal

In August, Manafort was convicted by a jury at a federal district courthouse in Virginia of eight criminal charges — five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts.

To avoid a second criminal trial on separate charges in D.C., he pleaded guilty to the two conspiracy counts and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

As part of that deal, Manafort admitted he was guilty of the remaining 10 charges that resulted in a hung jury in Virginia. In return, Mueller’s office said it would ask the court for a reduced sentence.

But Manafort blew the plea deal by lying repeatedly to the Special Counsel’s Office, the FBI and a federal grand jury about subjects material to the investigation.

How Manafort fits into the Mueller probe

Manafort was among the first Trump associates ensnared in Mueller’s investigation, but his involvement in or knowledge of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow remains shrouded in mystery.

The special counsel first unveiled a 12-count indictment in October 2017 charging Manafort and longtime business partner Richard Gates with crimes related to their lobbying for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

When Manafort agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller’s prosecutors, he was viewed as a key witness, particularly because of his visibility into the Trump campaign and participation in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

But Manafort’s plea deal fell apart when Mueller accused him of lying about various subjects, including his meetings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian business associate who is suspected of ties to Russian intelligence.

The interactions between Mueller and Manafort’s defense attorneys about the lying allegations offered some nebulous clues of how the onetime Trump campaign chairman’s case fits into the overall investigation.

A poorly redacted court filing from Manafort’s defense team revealed in January that Mueller had accused him of lying about sharing polling data with Kilimnik and discussing a Ukraine peace plan with him during the 2016 campaign.

One of Mueller’s prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, described the matters Manafort lied about as “material to the government’s investigation here and in another district” during Wednesday’s hearing.

Even so, none of the charges against Manafort or others in the president’s orbit have alleged a conspiracy between the campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Jackson noted Wednesday that Manafort’s case did not at all address the question of “collusion.”

“Therefore it was not resolved — one way or another — by this case,” Jackson said.

Trump has pointed to Manafort’s case as proof there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Many observers hope that Mueller’s final report to the Justice Department will address the central inquiry of his investigation, but it remains an open question whether parts or all of the report will be made public.

Some, such as Kirschner, anticipate Mueller may issue a final indictment before the completion of his investigation.

“If there is a campaign conspiracy indictment that gets handed down, I would fully expect Manafort to be named in it,” said Kirschner.

More legal troubles for Manafort

Even as the chapter closed on Manafort’s case in the Mueller probe, a new legal problem materialized minutes after Wednesday’s sentencing.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced a 16-count indictment against Manafort in connection with a residential mortgage fraud scheme. Manafort is accused of falsifying business records in order to obtain millions. A grand jury returned the indictment on Thursday — the same day Manafort was sentenced in Virginia.

The charges in the New York case originate from conduct that led to Manafort’s conviction on federal bank and tax fraud charges in August. Manafort is accused of presenting false information to banks in order to obtain residential mortgage loans.

It’s possible that the charges could be barred by the state’s double jeopardy law, which prohibits a person from being separately prosecuted for the same offense. The law says it applies to any offense brought in a New York state court or a court in any jurisdiction within the United States.

Some legal experts have speculated that Trump could look to pardon Manafort. However, a presidential pardon would spare him from only federal charges, not those brought by state officials.

Trump said Wednesday afternoon he hadn’t even thought about pardoning his former campaign chairman.

“It is not something that's right now on my mind,” Trump told reporters at the White House, adding that he felt “very badly” for Manafort.