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Just After He's Sentenced in 2nd Trial, NY Charges Manafort with 16 Crimes
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13 Mar 2019 02:50 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Paul Manafort (Image source: Screenshot)

 

 

This is something no one saw coming. Everyone's been so concentrated on the sentencing length Paul Manafort would receive and if Donald Trump might pardon him, but news followers couldn't have predicted this: New York has charged him with 16 felonies. And this means that Manafort is ensured of serving all the time he is sentenced to, as the president will not be able to pardon him.  

The former campaign chairman for Trump's 2016 campaign is a key player in the Russia investigation. He was found guilty of eight counts of bank fraud and tax evasion last August, and the next month he copped a plea deal for conspiracy and witness tampering.

 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller called him out late last year for not complying with the terms of his deal and dropped their support of him. He was sentenced last week in Virginia for the first set of convictions to just 47 months minus the time already served, which was way below the federal guidelines. 

On Wednesday Manafort faced his second sentencing in Washington D.C. and received an additional 43 months, giving him a total of 7-1/2 years in prison, though 30 months of the second sentence must run concurrently to the first sentence.

 

When handing down the sentence, Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted, "This defendant is not public enemy number one, but he's also not a victim either," adding, "There's no question this defendant knew better, and he knew exactly what he was doing." 

She also addressed the defense argument that collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was not proven by stating that wasn't even present in Manafort's case, so for his attorneys to emphasize that it wasn't proven is a "non-sequitur."

 

Additionally, she noted Mueller's investigation isn't even over yet, and she found that Manafort had lied. "It's not appropriate to say investigators haven't found anything when you lied to the investigators," she scolded. 

But this the additional time in prison wasn't even the worst news in Manafort's day, as just after he was indicted, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced an indictment against Manafort.

 

"No one is beyond the law in New York," Vance said in his statement. "Following an investigation commenced by our office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York's sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market." 

Last week a grand jury voted to charge Manafort with the additional crimes. Manhattan prosecutors had deferred their initial investigation as to not interfere with the special counsel investigation, but they resumed their work in recent months.

 

Trump has never said that he intended to pardon Manafort, but he has spoken often about pardons and has also defended Manafort repeatedly, referring to him as a "brave man."  

And while he does have the power to issue pardons for federal crimes, he does not have the same authority in state cases. Trump will not be able to pardon him in the recent charges, ensuring he won't be a free man any time soon.

 

Manafort will turn 70 on April Fool's Day. If he serves all his time in his current sentences and more time from his recent convictions, it's likely he'll never be a free man again. 

It's believed that Manafort's defense team will most likely challenge the 16 additional state charges on the grounds of double jeopardy. However, prosecutors in the district attorney's office believe they will prevail.

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