A sentencing memo release Saturday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said that President Donald Trump’s former campaign head, Paul Manafort, was a ‘bold’ criminal who “repeatedly and brazenly” broke the law.
Paul Manafort, 69-year-old campaign director who led Trump’s presidential campaign, pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges and is now facing sentencing on March 13. Although the memo that was sent to the presiding judge in charge of the case did not recommend a specific sentence, it has nonetheless explained and outlined the gravity of Manafort’s crimes.
The memo said that for many years, Manafort had violated the law and his sentence “must take into account the gravity of this conduct,” to serve as an effective deterrence against Manafort and others who would commit similar crimes.
Mueller’s team charged Manafort and five other Trump associates and senior aides for conspiracy. It is believed that the end of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign is nearing.
“Manafort committed an array of felonies for over a decade, up through the fall of 2018,” the memo said, naming crimes including tax fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, bank fraud and violating a law related to lobbying.
“His criminal actions were bold,” it continued, pointing out that they continued after he was charged, including attempting to tamper with witnesses, and lying to the FBI, government agencies and even his lawyer.
The Justice Department calculated that Manafort should face up to 24 years in prison after he was found to have violated a plea deal which agreed to a maximum sentence of 10 years – a calculation to which Mueller’s office agreed.
Earlier this month, District Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed with prosecutors that Manafort had “intentionally” lied to investigators about his contacts with a suspected Russian operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, in 2016 and 2017 — amid having pledged to cooperate as part of his September plea agreement.
Furthermore, the judge also ruled that Manafort had other lies including the clandestine payment he made to a law firm and on another occasion when investigators questioned him about a separate, still secretive investigation related to the Mueller probe.
The memo was dated on Friday and was intended to be made public on Friday evening. However, it was not released until Saturday, with several passages redacted. /apr