Manafort Returning to Federal Court for Another Sentencing

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves Federal District Court in Washington. AP

Manafort Returning to Federal Court for Another Sentencing

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, departs an arraignment hearing in Alexandria, Va., on March 8, 2018.

Less than an hour after Manafort was sentenced on federal conspiracy charges in Washington, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced that the new charges were filed in state Supreme Court last Thursday. He pleaded with her to "please let my wife and I be together". "I ask you to think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate", Manafort said.

Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in the Washington, D.C., case in order to avoid a trial a year ago.

The sentencing hearings for Manafort mark a bookend of sorts for Mueller's investigation as it inches toward a conclusion.

The question of whether anyone in the Trump campaign "conspired or colluded with" the Russian government "was not presented in this case", she said, so for Manafort's attorneys to emphasise that no such collusion was proven, she said, is "a non-sequitur".

It was the second such sentencing he faced in the space of a week, when he was handed a surprisingly lenient four-year prison sentence imposed for tax and bank fraud in a separate case.

After the hearing, Downing criticized Jackson's sentencing as "callous", "hostile" and "totally unnecessary" as he was shouted down by protesters.

Whatever Jackson's ruling, the possibility of a presidential pardon - a prospect Trump has not ruled out - will likely continue to hang over the Manafort situation, lawyers said. With time served, Manafort is set to spend 81 months behind bars, or a little less than seven years.

The judge ruled earlier this year that Manafort breached his plea deal by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors and grand jurors during more than 50 hours of interviews.

Judge Jackson also said that Manafort's guilty plea to conspiracy to interfere with witnesses is unrelated to the Virginia case, so his sentence for this does not have to run concurrent to his Virginia sentence. "He engaged in crime again and again, he has not learned a harsh lesson".

Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave him a stern lecture about his lies and criminal behavior saying there was no good explanation for the leniency he sought.

Ms Jackson ruled on 13 February that Manafort had breached his agreement in the Washington case to cooperate with Mueller's office by lying to prosecutors about three matters pertinent to the Russia probe including his interactions with a business partner they have said has ties to Russian intelligence.

Mr Mueller's team called Manafort a "hardened" criminal in a filing last month, arguing he should be held accountable for the "gravity" of his crimes. Jackson said Manafort committed fraud so he could live a lavish lifestyle. Gates later pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The charges against Manafort, however, were not related to his work on the Trump campaign, but rather his work on behalf of the pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. He has apparently been giving prosecutors a great deal of information about various investigations into Trump world and has not yet been sentenced. He was convicted at trial in the Virginia case and pleaded guilty in Washington to two conspiracy counts, each punishable by up to five years in prison.

Manafort had "to make a choice", the prosecutor said.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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