Paul Manafort sentencing: What you need to know

Paul Manafort sentencing: What you need to know

Paul Manafort sentencing: What you need to know

Manafort was accused of hiding tens of millions of dollars from the United States tax authorities which were paid as consulting fees for the work he did over the years for Russian-backed Ukrainian politicians.

Ellis in Virginia has sentenced hundreds of defendants during his 30 years on the federal bench - and in a court that's typically considered tough on crime.

In court documents filed last month, the special counsel's office agreed with the findings of an independent pre-sentence report, which calculated that Manafort's crimes called for a prison sentence of up to 25 years. But US District Judge T.S. Elliss said the sentencing guidelines were excessive and would create "an unwarranted disparity" with other cases.

Manafort, 69, addressed the court on Thursday evening in Alexandria, Virginia, saying "the last two years have been the most hard of my life".

He initially avoided a second trial after reaching a plea agreement with the Mueller investigation, but that fell apart when prosecutors persuaded a judge that Manafort had been lying rather than co-operating.

Mr Trump's campaign co-chair Rick Gates, who was a business partner of Manafort and testified against him in court, is also awaiting sentence. "My life, personally and professionally, is in shambles".

Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at the Federal Court for the sentencing of his client, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. It was a far cry from Manafort's usual dapper appearance and stylish garb.

In reality, they said, he was under Justice Department investigation before Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017.

Mueller's charges led to the stunning downfall of Manafort, a prominent figure in Republican Party circles for decades who also worked as a consultant to such worldwide figures as former Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Yanukovych.

The judge has used hearings in Manafort's case previously to inject politics into the proceedings.

Defence lawyers have also cited the fact that Manafort has forfeited millions of dollars in cash and property as a result of his convictions, and has also suffered public shame as a result of his high-profile prosecution.

Judge: He said that Manafort has been a "generous person" who has "lived an otherwise blameless life", but that Manafort's tax evasion was "a theft of money from everyone who pays taxes".

However, a Washington DC judge last month backed the Mueller team's contention that Manafort had lied about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, an aide alleged to have ties to Russian intelligence.

The crimes for Manafort was convicted did not directly relate to the 2016 election.

Manafort, they argued in court papers on Tuesday, "blames everyone from the special counsel's office to his Ukrainian clients for his own criminal choices".

Trump has also dangled the possibility of pardons for some of those indicted - including Manafort, whom he has praised as a "good man" who has been treated unfairly.

For their part, Manafort's lawyers seek mercy for a man once considered one of America's premier political consultants, advising four US presidents and working around the world.

Ellis repeatedly interrupted prosecutors, told them to stop using the word "oligarch" to describe people associated with Manafort because it made him seem "despicable", and objected to pictures of Manafort's luxury items they planned to show jurors.

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