Paul Manafort, the longtime Republican consultant who spent five months as President Donald Trump's campaign chairman during the 2016 election, was indicted Wednesday by the Manhattan District Attorney in connection to a mortgage fraud scheme.
The sentencing hearing was a milestone moment in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 election campaign.
The decision by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III to sentence Manafort to 47 months stunned many who'd been following the case given the guideline calculation of 19.5 to 24 years in prison and the fact the defendant was convicted of hiding millions of dollars from the IRS in undisclosed foreign bank accounts.
Manafort's team appealed for less time, arguing he was singled out by prosecutors for lobbying and financial crimes unrelated to Russian collusion with Trump's campaign and "vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades".
Manafort last week and on Wednesday was sentenced to a total of 7 1/2 years in prison in a pair of cases in Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Manafort faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at his sentencing as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, the president said he feels "very badly" for his former campaign manager. "He has not learned a harsh lesson", prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the court, referring to the witness tampering charge.
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"I pledge to do all I can to accelerate the healing process", he said.
"It's not appropriate to say investigators haven't found anything when you lied to the investigators", she said. Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and left in late August of that year amid reports about his payments for his political work in Ukraine.
Manafort had asked for mercy, saying the criminal charges against him had "taken everything from me already".
Manafort, who was sentenced in Virginia last week on bank- and tax-fraud charges, apologized for his actions and asked Jackson for leniency so he could care for his wife in their old age.
Jackson said Manafort's crimes were "not just a failure to comply with some pesky regulations" but "lying to the American people and the American Congress. At each juncture, though, Mr. Manafort chose to take a different path", Weissmann said. She said much of the information he provided to prosecutors after pleading guilty couldn't be used because of his history of deceit.
Trump, who in November said he had not ruled out giving Manafort a pardon, on Wednesday said that "I have not even given it a thought". His lawyers suggested that Manafort only faced conspiracy charges because Mueller couldn't charge him with anything related to collusion.
Paul Manafort, who has already been sentenced to prison time in two separate cases, has been indicted on additional criminal charges in NY.