Published: Fri, March 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

At sentencing hearing, Trump ex-aide Manafort asks judge for mercy

At sentencing hearing, Trump ex-aide Manafort asks judge for mercy

The 69-year-old was found guilty by a jury last August of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Prosecutors laid out their arguments against Manafort last August, charging that he defrauded banks and the US government by skirting millions of dollars in federal taxes.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort deliberately lied about his contacts with Kilimnik, calling it an "attempt to shield his Russian conspirator from liability" and saying it raised "legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie". He has not yet been sentenced in that case, and Mueller's team recently asked a federal judge to sentence him to 24 years in prison and order him to pay as much as a $24 million fine. "I know it is my conduct that brought me here", Manafort, in a wheelchair, told the judge before sentencing.

Redacted transcripts of two court hearings show Manafort's lawyers pushed the judge to unseal heavily blacked-out passages.

After his conviction, Manafort pleaded guilty to separate charges in the District of Columbia related to illegal lobbying.

They pointed out that Manafort, who suffers from gout, is a first-time offender and said the sentencing guidelines are "clearly disproportionate" for the crimes he committed.

He also talked about how the case has been hard for himself and his family. "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. Ellis dismissed efforts by Manafort's defense team to justify a lesser sentence.

US Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller is thought to be finishing up his 22-month investigation, which has dogged the Trump presidency.

Their client, they said, acknowledges that he received a fair trial, accepts the jury's verdict and is "truly remorseful for his conduct". He was found by the judge in the District case to have breached his plea agreement by lying to the government.

He is due to be sentenced in another case next week related to his illegal lobbying.

Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort could be set to receive a decades-long prison sentence for tax and bank fraud.

Manafort was convicted in August of eight financial crimes in the Virginia case. Those proceedings revealed that prosecutors were highly interested in Manafort's 2016 interactions with an associate in his Ukraine dealings who has been linked to a Russian intel agency.

The US president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has filed a lawsuit against the Trump's Organisation LLC in New York State Court in Manhattan stating that it failed to cover all legal expenses when Cohen was recruited by the company, court records stated.

The sentencing capped a stunning downfall for 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.

"It isn't a crime to have a lot of money and be profligate in your spending", Ellis told prosecutors during the trial.

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