Paul Manafort Charged With Real Estate Fraud In New York

Saul Bowman
March 14, 2019

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.

"Please let my wife and I be together", Manafort asked Jackson, The Atlantic reported.

But the federal judge had a harsh response to his request for leniency.

"It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the amount of money involved", Jackson said. But Jackson said Manafort should get credit for accepting responsibility because he pleaded guilty to the conduct at issue, though he later breached his cooperation deal with prosecutors. That ruling came after he received a 47-month sentence in Virginia last week on tax- and bank-fraud charges.

Prosecutors questioned whether Manafort was capable of such change, depicting him as a mastermind of a conspiracy in which he was paid $50 million over more than a decade by a Russian-backed politician and party in Ukraine, and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The sentences mean Manafort will spend a total of more than 7 years in prison.

Manafort, the judge chided, lied to members of Congress and the American public, adding, "If people don't have the facts democracy doesn't work". However, Manafort has been in jail since June after Jackson revoked his bail for seeking to obstruct ongoing investigations into Russian political interference. Jackson made a point of saying that this case had nothing to do with collusion, and does not reach any conclusion as to whether collusion did or did not take place.

Manafort himself asked for mercy on more personal grounds, telling Jackson he is the sole caregiver to his 66-year-old wife. The prosecutor said Manafort took steps to hide his foreign lobbying work, laundered millions of dollars to fund a lavish lifestyle and then, while on house arrest, coached other witnesses to lie on his behalf.

Jackson could have given Manafort up to 10 years in prison in the Washington case - five for each of the two conspiracy counts.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had sought a much lengthier sentence for Manafort in the Virginia case, where sentencing guidelines called for between 19 and 24 years.

Jackson indicated she thought Manafort's plea was an appeal to President Donald Trump for a pardon, something the president has not ruled out.

On top of the 47 months term he received last week, Manafort could have faced an additional 10 year sentence on Wednesday in Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump election campaign and Russian Federation.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 counts, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

Manafort, a lifelong political operator whose clients have included dictators Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko, said he has learned his lesson.

Manafort's criminal prosecution has led to several related criminal cases and investigations and a multimillion-dollar Justice Department settlement with a United States law firm for illegal lobbying for Ukraine.

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

Wednesday's sentencing comes in a week of activity for the investigation. But prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said during the hearing that Manafort had engaged in an extensive cover-up that deceived the USA government and the American public, and continued to try to undermine the investigation even after he pleaded guilty.

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