Paul Manafort Sentenced To 47 Months In Prison

Update 2: In a terse statement delivered outside the courthouse, Manafort's defense lawyers reiterated that "there is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved with any collusion with any government official from Russia."

Already, the resistance is furious.

Though looking back, that Ellis went easy on Manafort isn't a huge surprise: After all, this is the same judge who pointed out every flaw in the prosecution's case during the trial. At the time, the Washington Post even accused him of "extraordinary bias."

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Update: In a surprise decision that stands as a slap in the face to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Judge Ellis handed Paul Manafort a surprisingly light sentence of 47 months -or just under four years in prison - rejecting federal sentencing guidelines that recommended Manafort face up to 24 years in prison - a sentence that would have effectively condemned him to die in jail.

Manafort was also fined $50,000 (equivalent to a few of Manafort's bespoke suits) and ordered to pay restitution of $25 million.

At this rate, Manafort might be out before Mueller finally wraps up his probe.

Early in the trial, Manafort appeared headed for a stiff sentence despite showing up in court in a wheelchair and green prison jumpsuit. Initially, after a lengthy review of Manafort's charges, Ellis, who presided over Manafort's August trial, said he would reject his lawyers' request for leniency and accused the former Trump campaign executive of not being entirely forthcoming with the court about his finances. Furthermore, he refused to give him credit for accepting responsibility for his crimes, and also rejected his lawyers' argument that the fact that Manafort hadn't been found complicit in Russian collusion detracted from the charges for which he was convicted.

When it came time for their statement, prosecutors told the judge Manafort offered little meaningful help during his 50 hours of meetings with investigators, and that the main reason he spent so much time with investigators was because he had lied.

But when it came his turn to speak, Manafort sounded genuinely contrite, telling the judge he felt "humiliated and ashamed" for what he'd done, and that the last two years had been "the most difficult years for my family and I."

"I appreciate the fairness of the trial you conducted," he said. "My life is professionally and financially in shambles."

In the first indication that the sentence would be lighter than many had anticipated, the judge told Manafort and the court that he felt the federal sentencing guidelines were too stiff, and that Manafort had led an "otherwise blameless" life.

Ellis recommended that Manafort - who is reportedly suffering from gout and other unspecified health issues - serve his sentence in a Cumberland, Maryland prison camp. He also credited him with nine months already served.

Here's a play-by-play of the hearing, courtesy of @ShimonPro:

Reporters have been staking out the courthouse all afternoon, and Manafort, or at least his legal team, is expected to give a statement to the press after the sentencing:

Of course, as we noted below, Manafort isn't out of the woods just yet...he will face a second sentencing in a Washington DC court next week, where Judge Amy Berman Jackson is presiding. In addition to his initial charges, Manafort is expected to answer to allegations that he lied to Mueller about his contacts with a former associate from his consulting work whom investigators purportedly believe was a Russian spy.

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Paul Manafort's day of reckoning has finally arrived.

Months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Manafort had violated his plea agreement with federal prosecutors by allegedly lying about a promise to share campaign info with a purported Russian operative. For his crimes, Mueller insisted that Manafort be sentenced as soon as possible, and after a brief delay, US District Judge T.S. Ellis is expected to hand down Manafort's sentence on Thursday, possibly delivering what could be an effective life sentence for the former Trump campaign manager. Though Mueller hasn't recommended a specific sentence, federal guidelines recommend a prison term of between 19.5 and 24 years for Manafort.

The charges for which Manafort will be sentenced on Thursday include eight counts of bank fraud and other crimes for which he was convicted after an August trial, Reuters reported.


Defense lawyers have asked the judge to sentence Manafort to beetween 4-1/4 and 5-1/4 years in prison, and are expected to tell the judge that their client is remorseful and that the sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors call for a prison term disproportionate to the offenses committed.

"The Special Counsel’s attempt to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts before this court," Manafort's lawyers wrote in a sentencing memo.

As one Twitter commentator pointed out, should he receive anything close to the maximum sentence, 69-year-old Manafort would very likely die in prison.

The sentencing hearing is set for 3:30 pm ET. Next week, Manafort will face another sentencing in a separate case in Washington on two conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty in September as part of his plea with Mueller. He faces a statutory minimum of 10 years in that case, which US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson could potentially stack on top of whatever Mueller receives on Thursday.

Though he cooperated with prosecutors, Manafort has reportedly been holding out hope for a presidential pardon, which President Trump hasn't ruled out.