Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced Thursday to 47 months in prison on charges including cheating on his taxes and bank fraud.
The sentence is far from the 20 years he had faced under the federal sentencing guidelines that Judge T.S. Ellis III said were “excessive.”
The U.S. Districts Court judge told the courtroom the sentence was “just” and anyone who might think it was too lenient should “go and spend a day, a week in jail or in the federal penitentiary.”
While prosecutors have insisted Manafort is a cheat who must be made to comprehend the severity of his wrongdoings, the President’s former associate has claimed he is just collateral damage in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
The crimes Manafort was sentenced for did not relate directly to his work as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman.
In delivering the sentence, Judge Ellis noted that it was in line with others who had been convicted of similar crimes and that it was based on the entirety of Manafort’s life. He acknowledged that Manafort had stolen “money from everyone who pays taxes,” but also that he has been a “generous person.”
“He’s lived an otherwise blameless life,” Ellis said. The judged noted Manafort has no past criminal history and “earned the admiration of a number of people.”
Before the judge imposed the sentence, Manafort said the last two years had been very difficult for him and asked that that be taken into consideration. “To say that I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement. I know it is my conduct that has brought me here,” said Manafort.
He then went on to say that media exposure has negatively affected both his personal and professional life and thanked the judge for “the fairness of the trial you conducted.” Ellis later told Manafort he was surprised the GOP consultant had not expressed regret for his actions, but noted that did not affect the sentence.
Manafort, who was also ordered to pay $50,000, has already been in jail for nine months so his sentence will end in about three years. Manafort faces another sentencing in D.C. next week which could result in a 10-year prison term.
The former campaign chairman hid $16 million obtained as an international lobbyist, cheating the IRS out of $6 million.