Paul Manafort Sentenced To More Prison Time In 2nd Criminal Case
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was back in court today for sentencing in his second criminal case. Last week in the first, a judge in Virginia sentenced him to nearly four years in prison. Today, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., added another 3 1/2 years on top of that.
NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas was in the courtroom today and joins us in the studio now. Hi, Ryan.
RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hi there.
SHAPIRO: First remind us what Manafort was being sentenced for today as opposed to the previous sentencing.
LUCAS: Right. So the case in Virginia was about bank and tax fraud related to work that Manafort did as a lobbyist and consultant in Ukraine. His case here in Washington, D.C., is a little more complicated. Right before trial, Manafort pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges. He agreed to cooperate with investigators. That deal eventually collapsed because the special counsel's office said that Manafort was lying to them.
The judge in D.C., Amy Berman Jackson - she agreed with the special counsel's office. Today she sentenced him on the two charges that he pleaded guilty to. In his two cases combined, Manafort is being sent to prison for 7 1/2 years, but he'll get credit for time served.
SHAPIRO: Now, when you and I were talking last week about his first sentencing which you also attended, you noted that Manafort did not apologize. Did he have a different message for the court today?
LUCAS: You're right. It was a remarkable thing to watch last week when he did not apologize or say that he regretted his actions. The judge in Virginia actually suggested that he change his tune when he faced sentencing in D.C. Manafort took that advice to heart. He said several times today that he was sorry, that he takes responsibility for his actions. He also said that he's had time to reflect while he's in jail. He said he's behaved in ways that don't comport with his personal code of values, and he vowed to change.
He asked the judge not to separate him from his wife for a long period of time. She needs me, he said. I need her. And he closed by saying that this case has taken everything from him - his properties, his money. It's taken a toll on his health. He sat in a wheelchair today because of health problems like he did in Virginia. And he closed by asking for compassion. And he told the judge, you will not regret it.
SHAPIRO: Did this different side of Manafort elicit a different response from Judge Amy Berman Jackson?
LUCAS: Judge Jackson stated at the top that Manafort is not public enemy number one. But he's not a victim either, and he knew exactly what he was doing. So no, she wasn't convinced by Manafort's professed remorse. In fact, she rejected his appeal for no additional time, and she delivered really a pretty stern reprimand in her run-up to declaring her sentence.
She said that Manafort spent a significant part of his career, quote, "gaming the system." His lies and spin and deceit, she said, extended even into her courtroom, to the FBI, to the grand jury. She said it's hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud that he committed. And Manafort's crimes were serious, she said - hiding money in offshore accounts, witness tampering, cheating the U.S. government on taxes.
Why did he do it, she asked. And then she answered her own question. She said, not to support a family but to support his extravagant lifestyle - more homes than one family can enjoy, she said, more suits than one man can wear. She said his undeclared lobbying work on behalf of Ukraine had a corrosive effect on the U.S. It undermined political discourse, she said. It affected U.S. policymaking. And throughout all of this, she said, Manafort's attitude was, I'm just going to spin this. So his behavior over the course of this case, Judge Jackson made clear, was inconsistent with a genuine acceptance of responsibility.
SHAPIRO: And this is not the end of the story. There was this wait-what moment today when the Manhattan district attorney announced an indictment against Manafort there. What can you tell us about that?
LUCAS: Well, that's a 16-count indictment. The charges include mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records. These are state charges, and that's important because there's been talk of a possible presidential pardon for Manafort. The president himself hasn't ruled that out. The president has the authority to pardon federal crimes but not state crimes.
SHAPIRO: NPR's Ryan Lucas, thank you.
LUCAS: Thank you.
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