Paul Manafort's sentence in DC case means he faces 81 months total behind bars

Manafort faced a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison in the D.C. case.

March 29, 2019, 9:40 AM

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced Paul Manafort to 73 months in prison on Wednesday following his conviction on charges of unregistered foreign lobbying and witness tampering.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced the former Trump campaign manager to 60 months on the first count, running concurrently to 30 months of the 47-month sentence imposed in his Virginia case last week.

She also sentenced him to 13 months on the witness tampering count to be served consecutively with the count one sentence and his Virginia sentence.

That would mean an additional 43 months overall, bringing the total time he faces behind bars, including the nine months that he has already served in Virginia, to 81 months.

Put another way, the combined sentences of 90 months amount to seven-and-a-half years.

The judge also ordered Manafort to pay one-time restitution of $6.16 million to the Internal Revenue Service, the same amount he was sentenced to pay in the Virginia case.

As he left the courthouse, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing told ABC News that he was "disappointed" in the sentence. He called Judge Jackson "hostile towards Mr. Manafort," with a level of "callousness" he said he hasn't seen in his many years of white-collar prosecution.

The sentencing in the D.C. case is the latest chapter in his year-and-a-half-long legal battle.

Manafort entered the courtroom Wednesday morning in a wheelchair, wearing a black suit, white shirt and purple tie.

After some arguments between defense lawyers and prosecutors, he took the stand and addressed Judge Jackson, referring to what he had told Judge T.S. Ellis at his sentencing in his Virginia case last week.

"In my previous allocution, I told Judge Ellis that I was ashamed at my conduct that brought me into his court, and for that, I said I took responsibility," Manafort said. "Apparently I was not as clear at saying what was in my heart so for you I say to you now that I am sorry for what I have done."

Last week, Judge Ellis remarked that he was surprised that Manafort didn't express such remorse in his statement then.

"Please let my wife and I be together. Please don't take away any longer than the 47 months," Manafort said Wednesday, referring to the 47-month sentence he received in the Virginia case.

"She needs me and I need her," he said. "This case has taken everything from me. Please let my wife and I be together."

Judge Jackson could have sentenced him to up to 10 years in prison for crimes related to unregistered foreign lobbying and witness tampering, unrelated to his work on the Trump campaign.

After a break, Jackson said: "This defendant is not public enemy number one but he's not a victim either."

She reminded both legal teams that this case was not about Russia or about special counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors.

"This sentence will not be an endorsement or an indictment of the mission or the tactics of the office of the special counsel. Nor does it fall to me today to pass judgment on Paul Manafort as a human being. His life is not over and he’s going to have an opportunity to make something out of this."

Using harsher language, Jackson also said Manafort has not been honest about his conduct, including his contacts with witnesses in his case that led to witness tampering charges against him.

"The sentencing memorandum gave me concern that he hasn't really accepted responsibility for that offense," Jackson said. "While he agreed to plead guilty to this count, he's backed away from the facts."

The judge said Manafort's lies raised questions in her mind about his motives.

"Was he spinning the facts beforehand to get a good deal or was he spinning them after to get a good deal?" Jackson asked.

Later, she said, "Saying I'm sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency."

Manafort was sentenced separately by Judge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia to almost four years in prison last week on charges of bank and tax fraud.

Earlier, Jackson began the hearing by emphasizing the counts Manafort was being sentenced for in the D.C. case and underscored that he was not being sentenced for the crimes he was convicted of in Virginia, which carried steeper sentencing penalties.

"He has been sentenced for each of the individual offenses that he was convicted in the Eastern District of Virginia," Jackson said. "What's happening today is not and cannot be a review or a revision of a sentence that was handed down in another court."

She heard arguments over whether Manafort deserves credit for acceptance of responsibility and on whether Manafort should receive an enhancement on his sentencing for the "leadership role" he played.

Manafort's defense team argued Manafort accepted responsibility and given that is entitled to a reduction in sentence.

"Mr. Manafort has come forward, he's accepted responsibility by pleading guilty," Manafort's attorney Thomas Zehnle told the judge.

"Mr. Manafort committed crimes that subverted our political process and undermined the rule of law," special counsel's prosecutor Andrew Weissman responded.

Weissman said Manafort's upbringing and education could have led him to "lead a life and to be a leading example for this country," and instead he "chose to take a different path.

"He engaged in crime again and again. He has not learned a harsh lesson. He served to undermine, not promote American ideals," Weissman said.

Manafort's financial charges relate to criminal activities that occurred between 2006 and 2015, though the witness tampering charge relates to contacts he made in 2017 after he was indicted.

Prosecutors in the case said in filings that Manafort's sentence should reflect the "gravity of his conduct." The defense team, however, argued that Manafort should be sentenced to a term of imprisonment significantly below the statutory maximum.

"This case is not about murder, drug cartels, organized crime, the Madoff Ponzi scheme or the collapse of Enron," Manafort's legal team argued in a sentencing memo. "Mr. Manafort does not dispute his guilt, but these factors do not warrant a substantial period of imprisonment in this case."

PHOTO: Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle, defense attorneys for former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, leave U.S. District Court after a status hearing in Washington, Dec. 11, 2018.
Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle, defense attorneys for former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, leave U.S. District Court after a status hearing in Washington, Dec. 11, 2018.
Erik S. Lesser/EPA via Shutterstock, FILE

Manafort's lawyers also cited his significant health challenges as a consideration for a decreased sentencing.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson also will determine Wednesday whether the sentence she hands down in her courtroom will run concurrently with the sentence Manafort received last week in Virginia.

Manafort pleaded guilty to the two charges he was sentenced for on Wednesday as part of a plea deal that required his full cooperation with special counsel investigators. But his sentencing was delayed while legal teams engaged in a lengthy dispute about whether Manafort had lied to FBI agents and breached his plea agreement.

Prosecutors first alleged in November that Manafort had lied about several key topics during his interviews with investigators, including lies about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a businessman with ties to Russian intelligence, who was charged with witness tampering alongside Manafort.

Manafort's attorneys maintained that he had not lied.

Jackson ruled in mid-February after two closed-door hearings that Manafort had lied and breached his plea agreement, absolving the special counsel of any obligation to recommend a decreased sentence for Manafort.

President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon told reporters that he feels "very badly" for Manafort but said that he hasn't given any thought to offering him a pardon.

"I have not even given it a thought as of this moment," Trump said. "It's not something that's right now on my mind. I do feel badly for Paul Manafort that I can tell you."

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