Mueller Seeks Up to 24 Years in Prison for Manafort in Virginia Case

(CN) – Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort should spend between 19 and 24 years in prison for his conviction on multiple financial fraud charges, prosecutors with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said Friday.

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)

In a 27-page sentencing memorandum, prosecutors also urged a federal judge to order Manafort to pay restitution and forfeit of assets totaling around $28 million, to deter him from sophisticated financial schemes.

“The sentence in this case must take into account the gravity of this conduct, and serve to both specifically deter Manafort and those who would commit a similar series of crimes,” prosecutors said, urging the judge to go forward with sentencing. “Manafort chose to do this for no other reason than greed, evidencing his belief that the law does not apply to him.”

“His criminal decisions were not momentary or limited in time; they were routine,” prosecutors said, calling Manafort’s false statements to various financial institutions “brazen” since they were made during a period when he was in the national spotlight.

Prosecutors did not list any sentencing mitigation factors in the memo, and said Manafort acted as if he were above the law and committed crimes out of greed, not necessity or hardship.

“He was well educated, professionally successful, and financially well off. 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,” the memo said.

Manafort pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to head off a second criminal trial after a federal jury in Virginia found him guilty last year of various financial crimes.

In Washington, Manafort pleaded to conspiring to defraud the United States, obstruction of justice and violations of lobbying laws in relation to work he did on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, including former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort, 69, has spent five months in jail for violating his bail agreement when he attempted to contact witnesses in his case. 

Sentencing in the Virginia case had been delayed after prosecutors accused Manafort of breaching the terms of his plea deal, in which he agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Manafort violated his plea deal by lying to investigators about his communication with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political operative.

Manafort’s attorneys had argued that he did not intentionally lie about how many times he discussed Ukrainian policy with Kilimnik.

The Department of Justice believes Kilimnik is tied to Russian intelligence agencies.

U.S District Judge T.S. Ellis has not set a sentencing date.

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