Manafort faces more prison time – and 16 new NY charges

The News Tribune - - Front Page - BY ERIC TUCKER AND CHAD DAY

For­mer Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort was sen­tenced to a to­tal of seven and a half years in prison on fed­eral charges Wed­nes­day, then was hit al­most im­me­di­ately with fresh state charges in New York that could put him out­side the pres­i­dent’s power to par­don.

In Wash­ing­ton, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Amy Ber­man Jack­son brushed aside Manafort’s pleas for le­niency and re­buked him for mis­lead­ing the U.S. gov­ern­ment about his lu­cra­tive for­eign lob­by­ing work and for en­cour­ag­ing wit­nesses to lie on his be­half.

“It is hard to over­state the num­ber of lies and the amount of fraud and the ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of money in­volved” in the crimes, Jack­son told Manafort, 69, who sat stone-faced in a wheel­chair he has used be­cause of gout. She added three­and-a-half years on top of the nearly four-year sen­tence Manafort re­ceived last week in a sep­a­rate case in Vir­ginia, though he’ll get credit for nine months al­ready served.

The sen­tenc­ing hear­ing was a mile­stone in spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia in the 2016 elec­tion cam­paign. Manafort was among the first peo­ple charged in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and though the al­le­ga­tions did not re­late to his work for can­di­date Don­ald Trump, his for­eign en­tan­gle­ments and busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with an as­so­ciate the U.S. says has ties to Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence have made him a piv­otal fig­ure in the probe.

Pros­e­cu­tors are up­dat­ing judges this week on the co­op­er­a­tion pro­vided by other key de­fen­dants in the case. Mueller is ex­pected to soon con­clude his in­ves­ti­ga­tion in a con­fi­den­tial re­port to the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

Min­utes after Manafort’s fed­eral sen­tence was im­posed, New York pros­e­cu­tors un­sealed a 16-count in­dict­ment ac­cus­ing

him of giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion on mort­gage loan ap­pli­ca­tions. The new case ap­peared de­signed at least in part to pro­tect against the pos­si­bil­ity that Trump could par­don Manafort, who led the celebrity busi­ness­man’s 2016 White House bid for months. The pres­i­dent can par­don fed­eral crimes but not state of­fenses.

New York’s at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice had looked into whether it could bring state-level crimes against Manafort but faced a pos­si­ble road­block be­cause of the state’s dou­ble jeop­ardy law.

Still, Man­hat­tan pros­e­cu­tors, who brought the new in­dict­ment, con­tend their case is safe be­cause mort­gage fraud and fal­si­fy­ing busi­ness records are state but not fed­eral crimes.

At the White House, Trump said he felt “very badly” for Manafort but hadn’t given any thought to a par­don. “No col­lu­sion,” the pres­i­dent added.

On Wed­nes­day, Judge Jack­son scolded Manafort’s lawyers for assert­ing that their client was charged only be­cause pros­e­cu­tors couldn’t get him on crimes re­lated to po­ten­tial col­lu­sion with the Trump cam­paign.

“The no-col­lu­sion mantra is sim­ply a non se­quitur,” she said, sug­gest­ing that those ar­gu­ments were meant for an au­di­ence out­side the court­room – pre­sum­ably the pres­i­dent.

CLIFF OWEN AP

After Paul Manafort’s sen­tenc­ing hear­ing Wed­nes­day in Wash­ing­ton, his at­tor­ney Kevin Down­ing was shouted down by pro­test­ers and de­clined to com­ment on the new charges in New York against Manafort, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer cam­paign man­ager.

Paul Manafort

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