Manafort Sentenced

Just under 4 years, including time already served, and a $50,000 fine. What a fucking joke.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Under the blunt headline "A Shockingly Lenient Sentence for Paul Manafort," former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig writes at CNN:
Judge T.S. Ellis sentenced former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison on Thursday. Simply put, Judge Ellis's sentence is an injustice. It fails to adequately punish Manafort for committing a series of deliberate crimes over many years, and it sends terrible messages to the public about our criminal justice system.

...Today's sentence sends a corrosive two-pronged message to the American public. First, Manafort openly flouted the criminal justice system at every step and still got an enormous break. Following his arrest, Manafort got caught trying to tamper with witnesses, which caused Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., to revoke his bail and send him to jail to await trial. He went to trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he denied culpability but was found guilty by a jury on eight counts. He then pleaded guilty to even more crimes and purported to try to cooperate with Mueller, but instead told more lies to Mueller and the FBI. Even today at sentencing, the judge found that Manafort did not accept responsibility.

Second, as Mueller noted in his sentencing memo, Manafort committed crimes repeatedly, deliberately, and over many years, stealing millions of dollars from the U.S. government to support his absurdly lavish lifestyle (everybody remembers the ostrich coat). Yet Manafort received about the same sentence that I've countless times seen given to a typical low-level, nonviolent, first time drug offender in the federal system.
Judge Ellis, in handing out this paltry sentence, made sure to announce that the sentence was not for crimes of collusion. (He also noted that Manafort has 'lived an otherwise blameless life' and 'has earned the admiration of a number of people.' Gross. Also: Incorrect.) And it's accurate that Manafort was being sentenced only on fraud charges in this case, but it's telling and troubling that the judge felt it was important to say.

Manafort will face another sentencing next week. Honig explains: "He could end up with a maximum sentence of ten years in that proceeding, which Judge Berman Jackson might choose to run concurrent to (at the same time as) or consecutive to (on top of) the 47 months sentence in Virginia."

To be honest, I'm less interested in the time to which Manafort was sentenced (as I am, to put it mildly, not a fan of incarcerating people) than I am interested in the fine. Ellis also ordered Manafort to pay $24.8 million in restitution, which he will almost certainly never pay, which is why the fine should have been heftier.

Also because that, too, sends a message. And a fine that would have been pocket change for Manafort while he was at the top of his corruption game is frankly not a message that communicates what he did wasn't worth it.

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