Manafort Slapped With New Charges Minutes After Sentencing
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted on 16 new charges in New York on Wednesday mere minutes after he was sentenced to an additional three-and-a-half more years in prison on federal conspiracy charges.
Manafort’s latest legal woes stem from an alleged residential mortgage fraud scheme that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance says netted the once high-flying political consultant millions.
The indictment unsealed in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday afternoon, accuses Manafort of engaging in a year-long conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, engaging in a scheme to defraud and falsifying business records.
It was handed down within minutes of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejecting his appeal for no additional time and rebuking him for his crimes and years of lies.
“It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved,” the judge said before handing down a sentence that could result in Manafort spending the next seven years in prison. “There is no question that this defendant knew better and he knew what he was doing.”
Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, presiding in a separate case in Virginia, sentenced Manafort to four years in prison, well below Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation of 19 to 24 years.
Before his sentencing in the federal courthouse in Washington D.C. Wednesday, Manafort read a brief statement in which he said the criminal charges against him have “taken everything from me already — my properties, my cash, my life insurance, my trust accounts for my children and my grandchildren, and more.”
“I am sorry for what I have done and all the activities that have gotten us here today,” Manafort said before adding, “While I cannot undo the past, I will ensure that the future will be very different.”
Prior to Manafort’s statement prosecutor Andrew Weissmann reminded the court that Manafort went to great lengths to conceal his foreign lobbying work and that even while being held in house arrest, coached other witnesses to lie on his behalf.
Weissmann said this behavior is ” evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass.”
Manafort, he said, “served to undermine — not promote — American ideals of honesty, transparency and playing by the rules.”
But Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney, said his client was at least in part the victim of media hysteria surrounding Mueller’s ongoing probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
“That results in a very harsh process for the defendant,” Downing said. “But for a short stint as campaign manager in a national election, I don’t think we would be here today.”
Jackson sentenced Manafort to three and a half years on top of the four years he was given last week, though it is likely that, like Judge Ellis, she will also give him credit for time served.
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