Paul Manafort continues to prove that “justice” is on your side if you’re a rich, white man guilty of a white-collar crime after being ordered on Wednesday to serve an additional three and a half years in prison for charges of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Last week, Manafort, who served as President Trump’s former campaign chairman was sentenced to just under four years in prison after being convicted of tax and bank fraud in Virginia; convictions that under normal guidelines should have racked up a 19-24 year prison term.
The judge in the Virginia case, Judge T.S. Ellis III of United States District Cout in Alexandria, Va. opined that following those sentencing guidelines would have been “excessive,” and instead handed down a lenient 47 months sentence.
In the conspiracy case, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Federal District Court in Washington could have sentenced Manafort to up to 10 years in prison for a host of crimes which included money-laundering, witness tampering and lying to the Justice Department. However she too, went the lenient route, though, according to the New York Times, it was for completely different reasoning.
Jackson noted that one count was closely tied to the same bank and tax fraud incident that Ellis had already sentenced, and opined that the punishment for that should overlap, and not be added to Manafort’s time.
Jackson did slam Manafort’s conduct, claiming that “a significant portion of his career has been spent gaming the system.”
“It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the amount of money involved,” she added.
The words are nice, but the overall fact remains that Manafort will spend a total of about 7 and a half years in prison for repeatedly breaking the law.
Manafort did ask the judge to not add any more time to his prison sentencing saying “This case has taken everything from me, already.”
Jackson, for her part, said that Manafort “is not public enemy number one but he’s not the victim either.”
But then again, maybe Manafort is not having as great of a week, despite getting off relatively easily in both these cases. Shortly after Jackson’s sentencing, the state of New York announced that it would be charging Manafort with mortgage fraud and dozens of other state felonies, the Times reported.
“No one is beyond the law in New York,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance., Jr said Wednesday in a news release. He said that an investigation in his office “yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”
According to the report, the latest indictment came out of an investigation that began in 2017 when prosecutors in Manhattan began to look into loans that Manafort had gotten from two banks. That investigation has now culminated into a 16-count indictment that accuses Manafort of falsifying business records over about a year in order to receive millions of dollars in loans.
The charges in New York means that Manafort could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge in the indictment.