Paul Manafort sentenced to 47 months in prison

US president Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison for eight criminal counts of various crimes, from bank fraud to tax fraud.

Manafort's sentencing comes several months after he pleaded guilty in September of 2018 after being convicted a month prior in August of 2018. Among the eight counts that Manafort was convicted of, five were for tax fraud, two for bank fraud and one for failure to disclose a foreign bank account. 

Manafort's sentencing has been seen by many as lenient, as federal sentencing guidelines recommended Manafort serve 19-24 years in prison for his crimes. The judge in the case, T.S. Ellis, stated before sentencing that Manafort had previously "lived an otherwise blameless life," a statement which most likely contributed to handing down a short prison sentence. Manafort was also ordered to pay $25 million in restitution and a $50,000 fine by judge Ellis. 

The sentencing by judge Ellis is one of two sentencing decisions that Manafort will receive, with the next sentence being handed down next week in the District of Columbia for two counts of conspiracy. In Manafort's second case, the judge Amy Berman Jackson may be less lenient, possibly sentencing Manafort to serve the maximum sentencing of 10 years for his two counts of conspiracy. 

These counts say Manafort hid millions of dollars in income he received from the Ukrainian government and oligarchs to promote a pro-Russian leader, Viktor Yanukovych. After Yanukovych fled to Russia, following an uprising in 2014, prosecutors say Manafort resorted to bank fraud to continue making money. The counts Manafort has been convicted of say he lied about having control over bank accounts in a foreign country and failed to file a form with IRS stating he had signature authority over financial accounts outside the country.  

Manafort resigned from Trump's campaign in August 2016 after allegedly having ties to Ukraine when leading the campaign for several months prior, starting in March 2016.

The sentencing continues a line of convictions by the special counsel, led by Robert Mueller, into Russian influence in the 2016 election. While in Manafort's case, there was no explicit mention of collusion by Trump and his campaign with Russia, it is still a test for Mueller to see what kinds of convictions he can get. Besides Manafort, Mueller has also been able to get indictments out of 36 other people, including Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.

 

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