Paul Manafort could get 19 to 24 years in prison and fined millions of dollars, prosecutors say – NBCNews.com
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors said Paul Manafort could go to prison for approximately 19 to 24 years and be required to pay fines and restitution totaling more than $28 million.
In a sentencing memo filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, prosecutors said that under sentencing guidelines Manafort, who was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, could get a long sentence and heavy fine.
A longtime fixture in Republican politics, Manafort was convicted in August on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud
“For a decade, Manafort repeatedly violated the law,” the sentencing memo says. “Considering only the crimes charged in this district, they make plain that Manafort chose to engage in a sophisticated scheme to hide millions of dollars from United States authorities.”
After his income from foreign sources shrank in 2015, the memo said, “he chose to engage in a series of bank frauds in the United States to maintain his extravagant life style, at the expense of various financial institutions. Manafort chose to do this for no other reason than greed, evidencing his belief that the law does not apply to him.”
Prosecutors continued that “the sentence in this case must take into account the gravity of this conduct, and serve to both specifically deter Manafort and those who would commit a similar series of crimes.”
In addition to a sentence of around 19 to 24 years, guidelines would allow him to be fined in a range of $50,000 to more than $24 million, and required to pay restitution of more than $24 million and forfeit assets in the amount of more than $4 million.
A federal judge in a separate, closed hearing this week questioned where Manafort’s loyalties lie considering he gave false statements to investigators to shield a conspirator in a pro-Russian lobbying effort.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson in federal court in Washington said that because Manafort lied to investigators on three occasions, prosecutors for Mueller are not bound by a prior deal to give him a lighter sentence in exchange for his cooperation.
“To me, this is definitely an example of a situation in which the Office of Special Counsel legitimately concluded he’s lying to minimize things here, he’s not being forthcoming, this isn’t what cooperation is supposed to be,” the judge said, according to a sealed transcript of the Wednesday hearing that was released Friday night with redactions that were agreed to by prosecutors and Manafort’s lawyers.
“This is a problematic attempt to shield his Russian conspirator from liability and it gives rise to legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie,” Jackson said, referring to Konstantin Kilimnik.
As NBC News has previously reported, the FBI has asserted that Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence
“I find by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Manafort made intentional false statements to the FBI and the grand jury with respect to the material issue of his interactions with Kilimnik,” the judge said.
In September, Manafort pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in Washington to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and to witness tampering.
He agreed to cooperate with investigators, but prosecutors have since told the court that he lied to them and the deal should be called off.