Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has requested that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort get 19 years in prison after the would-be cooperator was found to be lying to the FBI, special counsel and a grand jury.
“Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars,” Mueller’s sentencing request states. “The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct.”
None of the crimes Manafort is going to prison for are directly related to the suspected Russia-Trump “collusion” to win the 2016 election that Mueller has been investigating for two years. Instead, he was convicted on numerous counts of bank and tax fraud.
Manafort violated his plea deal – on Wednesday, a Washington judge ruled that he had lied about a payment to a law firm and about contacts with a person “assessed” to have links with Russian intelligence – and thus destroyed his chances of a shorter sentence, antagonizing Mueller into the bargain.
In addition to 19.5 to 24 years in prison, Mueller’s office is also requesting Manafort pay a fine of up to $24.4 million and restitution in the amount of $24.8 million, with a forfeiture of $4.4 million.
Manafort’s crimes amount to a pattern of criminal behavior that is “brazen” and “routine,” according to the sentencing request. “Manafort did not commit these crimes out of necessity or hardship…He nonetheless cheated the United States Treasury and the public out of more than $6 million in taxes at a time when he had substantial resources,” and committed fraud to further augment his cash flow due to his lavish lifestyle, the document states.