• Paul Manafort sentenced to 3.5 more years, hit with more indictments

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    WASHINGTON - Prosecutors in New York announced new fraud charges Wednesday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, just minutes after a federal judge in Washington sentenced him to serve about seven years in prison in a separate conspiracy case.

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    Part of the sentence handed down Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will run concurrently with another sentence given to Manafort last week, at the end of his tax and bank fraud trial in Virginia. The Associated Press reported he will serve about 3.5 additional years in prison. 

    Update 12:45 p.m. EDT March 13: Just minutes after a judge handed down a sentence for Manafort, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced new charges against the political consultant.

    Vance said the charges were part of a “yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme through which Manafort and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars.”

    “No one is beyond the law in New York,” Vance said in a statement announcing the charges. “Following an investigation commenced by our Office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market. I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”

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    Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 13: U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a sentence of about seven years Wednesday for Manafort, with part of it set to be credited at the same time as he serves his 47-month sentence in Virginia.

    Manafort asked Wednesday for leniency, telling the court that he took responsibility for his actions, that he was sorry and that he didn’t want to be separated from his wife for more than the time he’s already been sentenced to in Virginia, BuzzFeed News reported. A judge last week sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison for bank and tax fraud.

    Jackson said that despite his plea, there was “no explanation” from Manafort to support his request for leniency.

    “It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved” in Manafort’s case, Jackson said, according to CBS News Radio.

    The lies are particularly important because “court is one of those places where facts still matter,” Jackson said, according to The Associated Press.

     Jackson noted that the case did not resolve any questions around whether there was collusion with the Russians in the 2016 presidential election, as the issues were “not presented in this case,” according to CNN.

    Update 12:10 p.m. EDT March 13: U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort on Wednesday to 60 months for conspiring against the United States and 13 months for conspiracy to launder money, Vox.com reported.

    Some of the sentence handed down Wednesday will run concurrently with the 47 month sentence ordered by a judge in Virginia last week in a separate case also brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

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    Update 11:20 a.m. EDT March 13: Court is back in session after U.S. District Judge called a brief recess in the case, The Associated Press and BuzzFeed News reported.

    Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 13: Manafort addressed the court Wednesday, according to CNN.

    “I am sorry for what I’ve done,” Manafort said, according to the news network. 

    He spoke from his wheelchair, CBS News Radio reported, telling the court that, with the support of family and friends, he’s become a “different person from the one who came before you in  October of 2017.”

    "I say to you in the future that my behavior will be very different. I have already begun to change," Manafort said, according to CBS News Radio. “I ask that you find compassion in your sentencing.

    U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson called a brief recess after Manafort spoke, according to CBS News Radio. His sentencing hearing is set to resume around 11:15 a.m.

    Update 10:35 a.m. EDT March 13: Manafort is expected to address the court shortly in his sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

    Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann argued that the crimes Manafort committed, including witness tampering, “go to the heart of the American criminal justice system,” CBS News Radio reported.

    "He engaged in crime again and again," Weissman said, according to BuzzFeed News. "He has not learned a harsh lesson. He served to undermine, not promote, American ideals of honesty, transparency, and playing by the rules."

    Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, told the court Wednesday that his client “truly is sorry for violating the law,” CBS News Radio reported.

    The hearing is ongoing.

    Update 10:20 a.m. EDT March 13: Manafort appeared Wednesday morning in court wearing a purple tie and a dark suit in a wheelchair, according to CNN. Defense attorneys said earlier this year that Manafort has had severe gout for several months during his incarceration which has sometimes required him to make use of a wheelchair.

    He stood from his chair of his own power when U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson entered the courtroom, CBS News Radio reported.

    Jackson agreed to give Manafort credit for accepting responsibility for his crimes, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors had argued that Manafort didn’t deserve credit because he later lied to investigators on several occasions, despite agreeing to cooperate as part of his guilty plea.

    The hearing is ongoing.

    Original report: Manafort is scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

    The hearing will mark the 69-year-old’s second sentencing hearing in as many weeks after a judge in Virginia sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison for bank and tax fraud. Like the case in Washington, the Virginia charges were brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, although neither case touches on allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election or on his work with the Trump campaign.

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    Jackson will determine Wednesday whether Manafort’s sentences in Washington and Virginia should run at the same time or if they should be back-to-back.

    Manafort pleaded guilty in September to a conspiracy charge in Washington and admitted he failed to pay taxes on millions of dollars’ worth of items from 2008 to 2014. He agreed to work with prosecutors, but the deal later fell apart when authorities said he lied to FBI investigators, prosecutors and others during more than 50 hours of interviews, The Washington Post reported.

    Prosecutors did not ask Jackson for a specific sentence for Manafort in memos filed in court, however, the Post reported they asked the sentence “be enough to deter Manafort and others from committing similar crimes.”


     

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