Paul Manafort Sentenced Second Time, Increasing Prison Term To 7.5 Years
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman, was sentenced to 47 months in prison last Thursday at a Virginia courthouse. Manafort was found guilty of eight separate charges, and federal prosecutors sought a sentence of 19.5 to 24 years for the Trump surrogate.
On Wednesday, Manafort’s sentence was bumped up to 7.5 years, making it the longest sentence of anyone investigated by Robert Mueller and the special counsel thus far. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson finalized the sentence, adding an additional 43 months for Manafort’s lobbying and witness tampering, crimes he previously pled guilty to.
The former campaign chairman came to his hearing in a wheelchair wearing a dark suit. Following the second sentencing, Manafort spoke before the court, issuing an apology for his crimes: “I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today.” Notably, Manafort did not issue an apology at his sentencing last week.
Jackson was unmoved by Manafort’s words, believing them to be feigned and a subtle plea for Trump to hand him a pardon, which would be the only possible way to exonerate him from his sentence at this point.
“Saying I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency,” she said. Continuing, she brought attention to how Manafort dodged paying millions worth of taxes and hid money in offshore accounts. “Why?” she asked. “Not to support a family but to sustain a lifestyle at the most opulent and extravagant level. More houses than one man can enjoy, more suits than one man can wear.”
Manafort tried to challenge that characterization of him. “Let me be very clear,” he said. “I accept the responsibility for the acts that have caused me to be here today.” Through prayer and reflection, he described how he grew a “new self-awareness” of his prior conduct, feeling “shame and “embarrassment” for his actions and the “suffering” they caused. “The person who I have been described as in public and in this courtroom is not someone that I recognize,” he added.
Jackson, nevertheless, had little sympathy for the Trump associate. “This defendant is not public enemy No. 1, but he’s not a victim either,” she said as she began her closing remarks. After rattling off examples of how Manafort had lied to Mueller’s team, a grand jury and even his own defense team, Jackson summarized, “It’s all very problematic to me because court is one of those places where facts still matter.”