Former DOJ fraud official weighs in on Paul Manafort prison sentence

The former DOJ official cautions that Manafort's recommended sentence of nine to 25 years were guidelines, not mandatory.
8:48 | 03/08/19

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Transcript for Former DOJ fraud official weighs in on Paul Manafort prison sentence
There is another big case that everyone is talking about and that is the pull manna for case yesterday judge TS Ellis over in the eastern district to regain -- handed down the first sentence on the former trump campaign chairman just 47 months we're bringing an expert this one and your browser she's a former chief of the fraud division currently partner Quinn Emanuel great to have you with us today they think it thank so you were watching this is we were. A very bizarre game yesterday because of they were taking some breaks how long this is going to the judge want to think about this. But for everything we were reading and hearing with the guidelines could it added up to be almost two decades in jail. Only 47 months a lot of outrage about that tonight. There there was a lot of outrage among you just hardened former prosecutors and and not look. There was a common saying when I was in the Department of Justice which is there are those who have not been those who have yachts. Parents who quite disparate you documentary man whose accomplices and he's received play out but the reality is of course it's. Much more complicated than that in this was certainly a complicated case lose and the guidelines that. Diet or bias would show defense attorney for manna for it was you know certainly pointing out. They're not mandatory and they are just and guidelines but warned the court and the courts and we had other ideas. Both from the prosecutors. As well as the independent United States probation office which was the body to actually calculate time that that sentence that would have resulted in more than 239. And entries you were in court every game for that violence seemed to go on forever. That's Cilic from the beginning was already coming out making comments against the special counsel's road throughout I'm hanging in a week. I'm curious what are you are wasn't surprising at all I must've sat there and you know discuss accused sit through waiting for the case a year waiting to hear you could sit through as many as twenty sentenced sings and you know. During the week as are waiting to listen to your case on and very sick occasions and we would hear. TS Ellis opine on how he just didn't think that the sentencing guidelines were fair he could be really tough. This somebody. Didn't express remorse and I was actually surprised like. He's sort of chastised Paul metaphor for not expressing remorse but Vinny only gave them for a month at four years and I was really surprised like. The other seems to be a disconnect there are certainly the fact that he almost advised him to make sure that he did express from here when he stands in the federal courtroom in district of Ghana. That would all right let's just it's now we got a totally different judge Amy Sherman's any Berman Jackson she is tough she is thrown Paul metaphorical way for witness tampering. The charges the are a little different. Either you're watching at home and you're thinking OK we are around you next week maybe he'll get it when it's stiffer sentence. How does that sort of out of a witness tampering for those other charges we've seen. Sure I mean both of the cases comprise extremely serious charges. Although. I and I think the distinction that often plays out is not violent crime or an and that and that distinction. However I think the big question I'm now is. How the judge Jackson will address the concurrent nurses consecutive decline that piece of the sentencing if the judge in Virginia had hit man a forward with a lengthy sentence is certainly one of the length that was recommended by him probation and the Department of Justice. I think it was almost a foregone conclusion that the judge in the District of Columbia would have declared the sentence imposed their two run concurrently running overlapping exiting the time. I think the annals a wide open question at this point and that consecutive time is likely to be in. You think judge Ellis took really it's much he really took into account that this was a victimless crime. Is that I know that I know there's and I can't deal calling it but as I. Aren't I mean I think there's legitimate controversy over calling calling it that and there are lots of different types of white collar crime but I think if you spoke to someone who was. Still in and that the department in tasked with. When his indicating those sorts of crimes. They would take offense to that as well as the victims. Of mortgage frogs Ponzi schemes you know the greatest. White collar criminal evolve Bernie Madoff who actually got a lengthy sentence certainly the people whose money he took did not considered to be a victimless crimes you're. And the other thing in rural talking about here sender and we appreciate you being with us today is you. Bob Mueller. What is going on with him we give me how many times that we are where it's coming in front coming out there comings and it and now I know I've I've lost it and everybody else you know I don't want work we're not special we. The same hall here. But he you used to you know what what's going on I think you know as to what they're doing this process right we understand that they are writing their final report there's sort of a close up everybody wondering how big this will be will be five pages 505000. The reality is that we don't know a lot of because Koppel was actually doing this pretty much by the book. That's exactly right I mean you started out in your question saying. To me because I'm fresh out of the Department of Justice that I know what's going on to be clear you don't if I don't get it there and that's exactly how the process should pick it up play out there are a you know you can count on your hands number of people rightly so in the department. That know what's going on know what the timing is no with the potential scope of the report is and I'm sure that there is. A lot of back and forth frankly about what the scope of that report is. What will be rejected and that those debates will go on and and extend. On Cindy engaged in with congress. Once once the actual report is released from. Muller's team to the attorney general and then of course Capitol Hill ladies and move through absolutely rising anger and along rocker has but it is really. These are not not at regular time so it's certainly difficult to predict. Well and one topic that we were tunnel earlier today is pardons and present in trump was asked about. Did he discuss a pardon with his former fix her personal attorney Michael Cohen he was asked about that earlier say before he left the White House here's what he had to say on. I don't even discussing I have noted when discussing it is. I have at this guy's dead I doubt that watching. Well that night at Michael cone who lied about the Bard. They don't hope life. Had lied about a lot of things but when he lied about the Bard that was really alive. Had he knew all about hard as lawyers said that they went to my lawyers have had applied. As I could go a step above that but I won't go do it now. OK well he did actually do that not too long later via Twitter go figure. I'll about a pardon Michael Cohen responding saying that's a complete lie but senator let me bring this to you because. What Republicans on Capitol Hill we're talking about is what Michael Collins said during his public testimony for the house oversight committee about a week ago he was asked. Had he ever discussed a pardon with any mourn the trump orbit he said no we sore that big headline from the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. That Lanny Davis his attorney said at one point. Mr. Cohen asked his legal representatives to make contact with the trump legal team discussing what a possibility could be silk. If there's a perjury trap there let's just say if these were not sure they still figuring out but how would that work on a member of congress on member of that committee. I refer that then to the DOJ looking ten. Sure I mean I think that that's one possible avenue I'm not a congressional library rarely gets life in terms of the department of justice and they have the ability to open up a file income men and look at an offense and so if there's you know the US attorney's office that seeing the same things that you're talking about today and then witnessed. The testimony and decided to pursue that and try to collect actual. Evidence in furtherance of that than they can open the file and pursue it. I'm literal doesn't have to be if he says I didn't discussed pardon this but. But we find out what Lilly lawyer yeah pardons like a former lawyer is that. It's a really good question I think the answer would ultimately if the file was opened and there was a grand jury that this determined to indict in Atlanta forward and a jury of twelve. They would make the determination about how literal pass to be those are very tough cases when the government called 1001 case of perjury case false statements. Those are incredibly difficult. Peace is to bring rarely is like an intent that content absolutely mayor Daley isn't that black and white to where someone. Actually says black on one day ahead says light on another day they may well I was. Trying to answer the question and I was adding new lines and it was complicated and I and I hadn't. Fully fleshed it out and there really difficult charges to bring. We're gonna see were those Santa Rosa thank you so much flick he's actually asked for anyway yeah.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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