U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Paul Manafort to 43 months in prison Wednesday, six months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Add that to the 47 months he received last week for bank and tax fraud, and the former Trump campaign chairman is looking at seven and a half years in prison.
Prior to Jackson handing down the sentence, Manafort attempted to apologize and win sympathy from the judge. She was having none of it. In a pre-sentencing statement, Jackson lit into Manafort for stealing from taxpayers to buy gaudy suits, failing to show genuine contrition, and being a complete liar.
She began her remarks by challenging the notion, pushed by Manafort, that he is a victim. His sob story — “I will be 70 years old in a few weeks. My wife is 66. She needs me. I need her,” he said — did not work on Jackson.
She told him not to be such a big baby.
How full of shit is Manafort? “Hard to overstate,” Jackson said.
Jackson reminded Manafort that his crimes were committed largely in pursuit of buying more stuff, including a bunch of stupid-expensive clothes. Among the haul, a $15,000 ostrich jacket.
Despite his apparent contrition, Manafort is not being forthcoming about the witness-tampering allegations against him, Jackson said. This is a reference to the accusation from last June that Manafort called and texted witnesses and asked them to lie on his behalf. One of them ratted him out to the FBI.
Jackson said Manafort’s dishonesty is ongoing. She also seemed to be referencing someone else with this line about “facts.” Wonder who???
She conceded that Manafort’s prison sentence would be hard on his family. But they’re rich, she said, so they can deal.
Regarding his apology, Jackson gave Manafort a C-minus.
Jackson seemed particularly annoyed at Manafort’s defense and at what she called the “‘no collusion’ refrain” in its sentencing memo. His lawyers suggested that Manafort only faced conspiracy charges because Mueller couldn’t charge him with anything related to collusion. That’s stupid, Jackson said, and it shows that Manafort is not remorseful.
Jackson refuted the idea that Manafort’s prison stay was excessively intolerable. Last summer, his lawyer tried to win sympathy for Manafort by complaining about how he’s been “locked in his cell for at least 23 hours per day.”
In the end, Jackson threw Manafort a bone before sentencing him.
Then she made it known that after spending “a significant portion of his career gaming the system,” as Jackson put it, Manafort will serve seven and a half years in prison.