Manafort Sentencing on Tax Crimes Set for March 8

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, leaves court after a May 23, 2018, hearing in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will learn in just two weeks how long a prison sentence awaits him for the eight financial crimes of which he was convicted last year. 

In a 1-page order filed this morning in Alexandria, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III set a March 8 sentencing date for the longtime lobbyist, and ordered defense attorneys to submit their sentencing suggestions by March 1. Prosecutors must respond to that memo no later than March 6.

Manafort was convicted last summer in the Eastern District of Virginia on eight bank and tax fraud charges connected to his political lobbying in Ukraine. The jury deadlocked on 10 other counts.

Prosecutors in Virginia have recommended that Manafort receive a sentence of 19 to 24 ½ years in prison, per federal sentencing guidelines.

Five days after he is sentenced in Virginia, Manafort will be sentenced a second time on March 13 in Washington, D.C., in connection to his guilty plea there in November to conspiracy charges. 

Manafort is also expected in March to plead guilty to making false statements to prosecutors during a time when he was supposed to cooperate with investigators and testify truthfully before a grand jury.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who for nearly two years now has been probing Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with that effort, has accused Manafort of lying about his communication with alleged Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik.

The special counsel’s office is expected to file its sentencing memorandum for the matter in Washington, D.C., no later than Friday.

There is uncertainty as to what sentence prosecutors may suggest for Manafort in D.C.: Based on the plea violations, Mueller may want Manafort serve his dual sentences consecutively, rather than the concurrent option Manafort had secured by agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel’s office.

Manafort spokesman, Jason Maloni, declined to comment on the sentencing.

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