Paul Manafort should face sentence 'substantially below' 10 year maximum: Defense counsel

PHOTO: Paul Manafort walks from Federal District Court in Washington, Oct. 30, 2017.PlayAlex Brandon/AP, FILE
WATCH Manafort shared polling data with ex-Russian agent: Feds

The defense counsel for onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort argued in court documents filed late Monday that their client should face a prison sentence “substantially below the statutory maximum” for crimes to which he pleaded guilty last year.

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“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 the sentencing memo. “Mr. Manafort does not dispute his guilt, but these factors do not warrant a substantial period of imprisonment in this case.”

Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy last year in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election.

Citing their client’s age and physical condition, Manafort’s legal team asked for leniency from the federal judge who will sentence him next month in Washington, D.C.

PHOTO: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, exits the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, Feb. 28, 2018, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images, FILE
Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, exits the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, Feb. 28, 2018, in Washington, DC.

“Although Mr. Manafort downplays his physical health challenges for his family and friends, the reality is he is not the relatively healthy man he was prior to his incarceration,” Manafort’s lawyers wrote. “In light of his age and health concerns, a significant additional period of incarceration will likely amount to a life sentence for a first time offender.”

Special counsel prosecutors described the extent and seriousness of Paul Manafort’s “bold” crimes in court documents unsealed over the weekend and suggested his sentence should reflect the “gravity of his conduct.”

Manafort’s repeated lies reflect a "hardened adherence to crimes and lack of remorse," prosecutors wrote.

The special counsel’s office previously indicted Manafort, 69, in separate cases in Virginia and Washington, D.C., on charges ranging from financial crimes to conspiracy and witness tampering.

He faces up to 10 years in prison in the Washington case and up to 25 years in Virginia, according to statutory maximums. Manafort’s legal team argued that his sentence in the Washington case run concurrent with whatever sentence he’s handed in the Virginia case.

Sentencing in both cases is scheduled for next month.