Paul Manafort: Ex-Trump campaign chief jailed for fraud

Mr Manafort

US President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort has been given a 47-month jail sentence for fraud.

He was convicted last year of hiding millions of dollars of income earned by his political consulting in Ukraine.

The charges stem from an inquiry into alleged Russian election meddling in the 2016 US elections.

None of Manafort’s charges relate to allegations of collusion with Russia. Mr Trump has always denied the charge, describing the inquiry as a witch hunt.

The 47-month sentence is far shorter than what was recommended by US Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Mueller is thought to be finishing up his 22-month investigation, which has dogged the Trump presidency.

Manafort, 69, is due to be sentenced in another case next week related to his illegal lobbying.

His sentencing marks a spectacular downfall for a Republican political guru who advised four US presidents, including Mr Trump, and foreign leaders.

What happened at the hearing?

Manafort – who will receive credit for time served – must also pay $24m (£18m) in restitution and a $50,000 fine.

He addressed the court on Thursday evening in Alexandria, Virginia, saying “the last two years have been the most difficult of my life”.

“To say I am humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement,” he added, asking the judge to be “compassionate”.

He described his life as “professionally and financially in shambles”.

Judge TS Ellis said he was surprised that Manafort did not “express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct”.

The formerly dapper lobbyist – who entered the court wearing a green prison jumpsuit and in a wheelchair – was impassive as he learned his fate.

Was the sentence too short?

Judge Ellis said sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors calling for between 19.5 and 24 years in prison were “excessive” compared to sentences for similar crimes.

“The government cannot sweep away the history of all these previous sentences,” he said. “Clearly the guidelines were way out of whack on this.”

He added that Manafort had lived an “otherwise blameless” life where he “earned the admiration of a number of people”.

Many Democrats have reacted to the sentence with disappointment.

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, said Manafort had “led far from a ‘blameless life'” (BBC)

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