At sentencing hearing, Trump ex-aide Manafort asks judge for mercy

At sentencing hearing, Trump ex-aide Manafort asks judge for mercy

But his hopes for a reduced sentence in the Washington case may be in jeopardy after a federal judge recently found that he lied to Mueller's team in response to some, but not all, of their inquiries. All of the charges were unrelated to Manafort's work for the Trump campaign.

Manafort will be sentenced by a judge who faced criticism by some in the legal community for making comments during the trial that were widely interpreted as biased against the prosecution.

Manafort, who served for a stint as President Trump's campaign chairman, will be sentenced in a separate case next week in DC, this one related to illegal lobbying. The case revolved around Manafort's overseas work for oligarchs backing pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine and his efforts to keep that money from the USA government.

Judge Ellis told the court on Thursday: "He [Manafort] is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government". Nevertheless, Ellis said that aside from his crimes, Manafort has led an "otherwise blameless life" and that he had a good relationship with others.

Prosecutors add that Manafort was not forthcoming with earlier investigators.

But he said the sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors calling for between 19.5 and 24 years in prison were excessive. Redacted transcripts of two court hearings show Manafort's lawyers pushed the judge to unseal heavily blacked-out passages.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr Manafort used offshore bank accounts in Cyprus to hide more than $55 million from Ukrainian politicians from the tax authorities.

Manafort's trial past year documented his career as an worldwide lobbyist whose profligate spending habits were part of the evidence showing he'd cheated the Internal Revenue Service out of $6 million by hiding $16 million in income.

This is not Manafort's final court appearance.

Two months later, the special counsel's office accused Manafort of violating this plea deal by "lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters".

Also last month, Manafort's lawyers inadvertently revealed in a court filing that their client had shared polling data about the 2016 Trump campaign with Mr Kilimnik. Manafort, who opted not to testify during his trial, told the court that "to say I have been humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement". The crimes were unrelated to his time serving in the Trump campaign. The revelation could support possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, the issue at the center of Mueller's special counsel investigation.

Thursday's sentencing in Virginia is just one of two Manafort faces.

The first skirmish in the hearing came when Manafort's attorneys argued with federal prosecutors over whether deserved any sentenced reduction for "acceptance of responsibility".

Mueller's charges led to the stunning downfall of Manafort, a prominent figure in Republican Party circles for decades who also worked as a consultant to such worldwide figures as former Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Yanukovych.

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