Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, was sentenced, Thursday afternoon, in the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., to 47 months in prison.
An American lobbyist, political consultant and convicted felon, Manafort joined the Trump presidential campaign team in March 2016 and was campaign chairman from June to August of that year.
Formerly an attorney, he forfeited his license to practice in January 2019.
His lucrative work in Ukraine and his ties to well-connected Russians made him a target of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Thursday’s sentence was involved in a financial fraud case, presided over by Judge T.S. Ellis, who failed to follow advisory sentencing guidelines that would have effectively put Manafort, who turns 70 next month, in prison for the rest of his life.
Of the half-dozen former Trump associates prosecuted by Mueller, Manafort received the harshest punishment yet, in the case that concluded Thursday.
Prosecutors pursued Manafort for nearly two years on two tracks, charging him with more than two dozen felonies, including obstruction of justice, bank fraud and violations of lobbying laws.
But while they won a conviction, a guilty plea and ultimately Manafort’s agreement to cooperate, prosecutors said on Thursday that he provided little information of value for their inquiry into Russia’s election interference and the degree of involvement by Trump associates.
As proof of Manafort’s financial fraud scheme, prosecutors put forward exhaustive evidence of how he illegally concealed his work on behalf of political parties in the Ukraine, that were aligned with Russia and how he hid more than $55 million in payments from that work in more than 30 overseas bank accounts.
Manafort will be sentenced next week, in a Washington case. The federal judge overseeing that case agreed that Manafort had deceived investigators about three matters, including his interactions with a Russian associate who prosecutors have said is linked to Russian intelligence. He may be handed another prison term of up to 10 years.
Manafort lied to the prosecutors about his interactions with Russian Konstantin V. Kilimnik, who received polling data from Manafort.
Ellis noted that he must consider the entirety of Manafort’s life in issuing the sentence, noting that he has been “a good friend” and a “generous person” but that “can’t erase the criminal activity.”
Manafort’s tax crimes, the judge said, were “a theft of money from everyone who pays taxes.”
But the judge expressed some empathy for Manafort, a 69-year-old GOP consultant who worked on the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Wearing a green jail uniform with the words “ALEXANDRIA INMATE” in block letters on the back, Manafort entered the courtroom in a wheelchair.
His trial last year documented his career as an international lobbyist whose profligate spending habits were part of the evidence showing he’d cheated the Internal Revenue Service out of $6 million by hiding $16 million in income.
Prosecutors had also urged Ellis to impose a serious fine on Manafort, saying he still owns two properties with $4 million in equity and has securities and a life insurance policy worth millions of dollars more.
The sentencing is one of the major decisions in the ongoing multi-probe investigations ongoing with strings still tied the 2016 presidential election.