Paul Manafort sentencing memo: Mueller’s office recommends 19.5-24.5 years in prison

Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a sentencing memo on Friday recommending former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort serve at least 19 and a half years to 24 and a half years in prison. The memo also recommends he pay a fine of up to $24 million, restitution of more than $24 million and forfeiture in the amount of more than $4 million.

A jury convicted him last year in the eastern district of Virginia on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. He separately pleaded guilty to two additional felonies and soon afterward agreed to cooperate with the government, although a judge earlier this week said he had violated the terms of his plea agreement by lying to the FBI. 

“Manafort did not commit these crimes out of necessity or hardship,” the sentencing memo reads. “He was well-educated, professionaly successful and financially well of. 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. Manafort committed bank fraud to supplement his liquidity because his lavish spending exhausted his substantial cash resources when his overseas income dwindled.” 

The memo also says Manafort’s age — 69 — and “reputational harm” should not be taken into account in the sentencing. “Nothing about the defendant’s age is unusual. Tax offenders are often older and often, like the defendant, wealthy, but they nonetheless receive substantial terms of incarceration notwithstanding age and health issues,” the sentencing memo says.

The court documents allege Manafort was “plainly the leader” of the financial crimes that were committed, which included individuals like Rick Gates, Konstantin Kilimnik, his tax preparers, bookkeepers, and others in Cyprus who maintained his offshore accounts

If the recommended sentence is enacted, it will be the longest so far in connection to Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election

Manafort also faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the two felony conspiracy counts. 

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