UPDATED 2019/03/08 3:00PM
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been sentenced to almost 4 years in prison for cheating on his taxes and committing bank fraud. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Manafort was facing nearly 20 years in prison, but US. District Court Judge R.S. Ellis III called the guidelines calculation for his sentencing “excessive” and instead sentenced him to 47 months in prison.
In court, Manafort asked the judge to consider his suffering over the past two years saying, “The last two years have been the most difficult years for my family and I. To say that I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement.” He added, “I know it is my conduct that has brought me here.”
Aware he may be criticized, the judge attempted to prove that his punishment was harsh enough, saying “go and spend a day, a week in jail or in the federal penitentiary. He has to spend 47 months.” He said that the sentence he imposed is in line with others who have been convicted.
The judge had sympathy for Manafort who is said “lived an otherwise blameless life” and has been “a good friend” and “generous person,” even if that “can’t erase the criminal activity.
Manafort was found guilty in a trial last year of hiding millions of dollars that he made from lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian politicians in overseas bank account. He also was convicted of falsifying his finances to get loans, which prosecutors say resulted in his lavish lifestyle, high-end clothing and multiple properties. The 69-year-old insists that he is collateral damage in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
Manafort has already spent 9 months in jail, which means that the sentence imposed by Ellis will actually last under three years, with a reduction for good behavior. Manafort must also pay a fine of $50,000.