Judge: Manafort Refused to Apologize and Stole Millions in “Very Serious Crimes” . . . But Deserves Only 47 Months

In what could well be the greatest disconnect in the history of sentencing hearings, Judge T.S. Ellis III noted that Paul Manafort had refused to apologize for “very serious crimes” worth millions but then gave Manafort a fraction of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller had requested. Rather than the 19-24 years requested (and allowed under the guidelines), Manafort received 47 months with nine months cut off for time served. Thus, he will serve just 38 months for eight serious felonies. Manafort will receive three years of supervised release, and pay a $50,000 fine and $24 million in restitution.

Ellis previously raised eyebrows over his controversial comments and veiled criticism of the Special Counsel investigation.

In a new curious statement, Ellis seemed to dismiss the importance of apology or contrition. He told Manafort “I was surprised that I did not hear you express regret. That doesn’t make any difference on the judgment that I am about to make … but I hope you reflect on that.”

Ellis also said that Manafort led “an otherwise blameless life.” It is hard to see who Ellis was referring to unless Manafort has an evil twin. Manafort has long been viewed as a dubious character in D.C. with shady clients and practices.

After acknowledging that Manafort had “been convicted of serious crimes — very serious crimes — by a jury,” Ellis declared the requested sentence to be “excessive.”

Manafort was convicted by a jury in August of eight criminal charges — five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts. There were premeditated and long-standing criminal acts worth millions. Some kid in Chicago who robs a 7-11 can get 10 years easily, but Manafort can commit felonies for millions and walk after less than 4 years.

Notably, it is not clear whether Manafort will actually pay $24 million in restitution because of banks using forfeited properties to cover his debts. Yet, Ellis refused to order more fines, including the sale of two homes worth $4 million each and millions of other assets.

Manafort will now be sentenced in Washington for crimes in a second case by Judge Amy Berman Jackson. He however will be looking at a maximum of 10 years in that case for conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses in D.C. If that sentence were to run concurrently, he would have come out with less time than many expected even if he receives near the maximum. Nevertheless, Manafort is turning 70 in April so a ten year sentence could still be a practice life sentence given his poor health.

186 thoughts on “Judge: Manafort Refused to Apologize and Stole Millions in “Very Serious Crimes” . . . But Deserves Only 47 Months”

  1. Before looking at things like sentencing guidelines might it not be useful to look at and consider the basic law of the land? He was most certainly put under double jeopardy in this case of ‘life’ and beyond that consider ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

    It may be safely presented there was guilt but whose fault was that in not being found guilty the first time? Why were those miscreants not charged as well as the current crop?

    A classic example of why the duty of the Citizen especially the self governing Citizen should be tutored in the Fully Informed Jury Concept and the practice of Judges confiscating copies of The Constitution should be banned under pain of the available and legal laws of investigation, impeachment and removal from office.

    A Citizen has several ways of voting. One is in the jury box when the law is held to be illegal by the self governing citizen or the Judge attempts to over rule the Jury.

    It is part of checks and balances and a way for the citizen to protect the nation from misprision of office amongst other anti constitutional failings.

    Trying to institute a ‘deal’ without ‘advise and consent’ of the Senate would be a prime example

  2. A direct slap in the face to the dirty cops and hucksters. i hope they included time served prior to being found guilty

  3. The judge stuck up his middle finger to the justice system and to the public. But those kind of actions are greeted with glee from Trump enablers and supporters. Poor people of all colors have known that the justice system is made, used, and abused by the rich. Again, greeted by glee from the cult. Drain the swamp? Only to let out every slimy crook there is. Law and order? Only for those who can afford it. The judge showed his disdain for the special counsel, and the public, and the evidence of a outright crook by declaring Manafort of having a “Blameless Life”

  4. “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    – William Casey, CIA Director

  5. Hillary and Obama used an illegal server and a pseudonymous account, mishandled classified material, obstructed justice, destroyed evidence as 30,000 e-mails, conducted and international pay-for-play scheme, etc., etc., etc.

    James Comey wrote a letter of exoneration for Hillary and, by extension, Obama before the non-“investigation” was completed.

    Jeffery Epstein was given an corruptly short sentence for child molestation to silence him and immediately terminate the investigation of Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew et al.

    And the unconstitutional, corrupt, redistributionist, American welfare “deep” state rolls on.

    1. The SC has held since 1941 that deliberate intent to harm the US was a necessary element in applying the Espionage Act. Comey was correct in his assessment.

      His announcing the investigation of Hillary two weeks before the vote cost her the election according to 538 while his keeping silent on the investigation of Trump’s campaign obviously protected him.

      You need to get your sides right.

      1. The Supreme Court has also upheld the irrefutably unconstitutional denial of secession, undeclared war against a sovereign foreign nation, confiscation of private property, suspension of Habeas Corpus, improperly ratified “Reconstruction Amendments” with guns to the heads of American under the duress of post-war military occupation, etc. by “Crazy Abe” Lincoln and his communist successors, and the similarly unconstitutional progressive communism of the Income Tax, Fed, IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, affirmative action, quotas, social services, forced busing, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HHS, HUD, HAMP, HARP, Education Dept., Labor Dept., Obamacare, etc., etc., etc.

        Yep. The anti-American, anti-Constitution Supreme Court upheld all that; the imposition of the Communist Manifesto on America.

  6. If Ellis had used the Hillary Clinton sentencing guidelines, Manafort would have been home in time for dinner and lining up a campaign manager for a Presidential Run.

    1. Despite 25 years of mud, multiple investigations by a GOP led Congress – which actually exonerated her – Hillary has never been charged, let alone convicted.

      Get off the Rush, Hannity, Trump fix. They’re all liars.,

      1. ” Hillary has never been charged.”
        That is exactly the point. There is a 2 tier justice system in the United State.
        Hitler was never charged with tax evasion either.

        1. And Barack Obama’s administration was “scandal-free”…

          I recall his AG being held in civil and criminal contempt of Congress…and absolutely nothing happened to him….

        2. She was exonerated on Benghazi by a GOP led House and Comey followed the 1941 SC precedent that the Espionage Act balanced on showing a deliberate attempt to harm the US.

          What did you want to charge her with?

          1. negligent mishandling of classified materials for starters

            gross malfeasance and incompetence in Libya actions in general including, promoting an illegal insurrection against a lawful head of state, arming terrorists, and losing an American ambassador on her watch, which has not happened since we lost on Cyprus in the mid 70s

            see Congress won’t ding her on #2 because they wanted revolution in Libya too.

            and #1 was thrown out by Comey when he was talking above his pay grade

            1. negligent mishandling is not punishable under the Espionage Act.

              The Libyan civil war was underway and Qaddafi was set to massacre thousands of his citizens before we acted. We acted under NATO approval and with their support..

              1. HELLLLOOOOOOO

                numerous statutes she broke … who said anything about Espionage act? that’s you setting up the same straw man you set up yesterday

                here’s one shoe that may fit, there’s others, you can pore through the US code since you like to do that anyhow

                https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1924

                we went through this all before, back when Loretta Lynch was AG, and Comey was talking above his level, making her choices for her.

                You’re a propagandist, totally dishonest.

                  1. Facts are whatever Democrats leadership and their collaborators in the mass media say they are, right? You’re fake and flakey all at once.

                    You can fool yourself by trotting out some irrelevant detail. You think that makes you sound smart. Oh goody goody. Fool somebody who only has a GED, you’re not going to fool me.

                  2. Got any ‘facts’ besides the propaganda you read in Time?

                    “Former New York federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy said federal law was “completely distorted” to exonerate Hillary Clinton and “scorch the Earth” against President Trump.

                    “It boils down to whether you believe Hillary Clinton acted with criminal intent,” he said of how readers will analyze Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s report.

                    McCarthy … said federal authorities “rewrote the Espionage Act” to try to prevent Clinton from being charged.”

                  3. Nearly every communication coming from and going to a Secretary of State is classified, by nature of it being a Cabinet level position. She knew that.

                  4. That’s false. The security agreements typically say “or should have known.” Again, read them.

                  5. Semantics. We don’t really have a definitive answer to the question of properly marked confidential emails. However, we do expect the Secretary of State to be able to recognize what emails are confidential or even sensitive. Then we have to wonder how these classified emails, whether properly marked or not, ended up on Huma Abedin’s computer. After we figure that out one has to consider all the emails ending up on a convicted sex offender’s computer, Anthony Weiner.

                    You seem more interested, Anon, in playing games with words and the unknown because her hard drive was bleached and then hammered when it was requested by Congress. That one step should be enough to wake people like you up, but apparently it isn’t. Tunnel vision might be good for people doing construction work, I don’t know, but it certainly isn’t good when dealing in these types of matters.

              2. Qadaffi was a lawful head of state suppressing a bunch of jihaadists and the world would be a better place if he was still alive, with his brutal foot on the jihaadist necks, instead of them running wild with US supplied armaments, sending off more refugees to Europe

                This was the exact same sort of mischief as Iraq. You’re a war pig too i guess?

                1. I support the lawful regime of brutal Arab dictator Assad too– because it’s preferable to have order instead of insane Jihaadists running wild. And Syria was a livable place before the Saudis and US ginned up a stupid civil war there which among other things, flooded Europe with refugees. but hacks like you don’t care, maybe getting a penny a word for BS from some deep state NGO payment machine

                  1. I’m not a hack. I’ve presented more facts than you who has demonstrated time and again your zombie like devotion to the scum bag in chief.

                    I don’t support Assad, and his civil war also preceded our involvement. Every event in the world did not start because of Obama.

                    1. ISIS did. Or, sorry, ISIL, as only Obama liked to call it. He allowed it to establish a calphate.

                    2. No, Syria was one of the nations on the neocon hit list. A US adversary that was to be opportunistically attacked and “regime changed” in the wake of 9/11 along with Iraq and Libya

                      Tell me, how is it that Obama a supposed peace candidate continued where Dubya left off?

                      And Hillary the eager executioner!

                      Really I wonder who was in charge under Obama, Obama or the Clintons?

                      Here’s General Clark talking about the PNAC inspired hit list he saw at the Pentagon

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

                      You’re a dishonest Hillary sycophant, and you know full well what I’m talking about!

                    3. Hey Bob! The veterans that organized ISIS or whatever, were formerly employed by Saddam in his army. Then, the majority Shiite replacement regime, antagonized the hell out of them, they had a civil war, we paid them off to calm down for a while, then when the US looked to get out, the Saudis took to paying them to reorganize mischief to destabilize their old rival in Syria, the Assads, and their emergent rival in the increasingly pro Iranian SHiite Majority Iraqi regime.

                      Now the US thinks it’s got ISIS stamped out by using the Kurds, which are a rival to both Assad, and the Arabs in the rest of Iraq, but also, they’re rivals to, our NATO ally Turkey! What a mess it is now.

                      It was simpler, better, more orderly and more stable under Saddam Hussein. He may have been a ******* but it served the US’ geopolitical interests better than the fracas which has ensued.

                      That is, if you see the US like a normal American, who doesn’t want to see endless war and ballooning debts.

                      But if you think like a beltway insider, then, be you one party or the other, never met a war you didn’t like!

                      So when Trump performs on a campaign promise they go nuts, as we saw when he even dared to order troops out of Syria.

                      And perpetually seek to whitewash their icon Hillary

                      HILLARY, DARLING OF THEARMS INDUSTRY!

                      https://publicintegrity.org/national-security/defense-contractor-employees-give-the-most-money-to-hillary-clinton/

                2. As noted Qaddafi was fighting a civil war supported by insurgents who looked to us for help forming a democracy – see the American f;lag waving marches and the reception Americans, including our new ambassador received, and Q was about slaughter thousands in his attempt at suppression. As Obama has stated, his biggest mistake was not trying to send more aid to Libya after the civil war, when the country was overtaken by tribal BS. The Libyan government was and is dedicated to democracy but has trouble maintaining any control over the western regions.

                  No, I opposed Iraq from the first like I did VN and thought Biden was right on getting out of Afghanistan.

                  1. they wanted guns from the Americans and knew how to put on a dog and pony show to get them. They’re the same bunch of Salafist nutjobs that won’t let women drive cars in Saudi.

                    Your kind denounce Saudis one day for sawing up one of their own errant princelings or making some real estate deal with Jared, yawn,

                    but ignore all the mischief they seed around in the Arab countries of their rivals which ends up with countless dead, starving, and refugees flooding Europe.

                    Pathetic!

                    THERE IS NO LIBYAN GOVERNMENT INTERESTED IN DEMOCRACY

                    THERE ARE STRONG JIHAADISTS ONE THE ONE HAND–

                    AND A TINY SOCALLED PROWESTERN GOVERNMENT CONSISTING OF SOMEBODY FLEECING NAIVE NGO WORKERS ON THE OTHER

                    AND CHAOS IN BETWEEN!

                    1. ITS EXACTLY LIKE AFGHANISTAN in the sense that there’s a corrupt, weak pro american faction, that holds some tiny scrap of land, for now, and an immense country filled with hard hitting, well organized jihaadists, that hate American guts even more, and are in zero chance of going away any time soon.

                      you are an ignorant fool if you have looked into these things and can’t see it.

                    2. How different is this from Vietnam? The patriots were on the Commie side and the RVN government was filled with a bunch of quislings. Who are bound to lose, once we pull the financing and extract the muscle.

                      But the American people are just expected buy whatever the tv tells them at the moment. Well, not so much anymore!

                      Hillary was just like LBJ, running the country into another bush war where we had nothing to gain as a country– but her and her cronies had an angle for their own schemes

                      She’s a war pig, and you’re an apologist

                    3. Your wrong, and I encourage you to actually read from objective sources what has happened in Libya and while you’re at it, watch Ambassador’s Stevens video to the Libyan people. He knew the area and was not blowing smoke. He insisted on jogging alone when he was there, and American journalists said they couldn’t pay for a drink they were so popular. The main forces in the civil war were not jihadists, nor was the government. Someone is feeding you BS about what happened there and who the players were and are. There were no promised marches in Baghdad with American flags. There were in Tripoli.

                      Watch this:

                      https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/libya-ambassador

                    4. Thanks for the insults. Coming from you it’s an honor.

                      That aside, all countries are not the same and the facts in Libya don’t fit those in Iraq or VN. EDUCATE YOURSELF

                    5. Di, I don’t need your supposedly “unbiased” government propaganda machine sources. I have my own. You can believe what you like. There is no hope for you, an ardent sycophant of Hillary & her pro war faction.

                  2. why bother I have heard all the pro libyan intervention propaganda as it came over the airwaves from NPR the other government propaganda chanel, you want me to waste time with izvestia when I already read pravda? convince yourself, naif!

                    1. Maybe Kurtz can go watch another Trump as the white knight video. And I’m the sucker for Pravda?

                      By the way, not living up to the handle Dude.

                3. Same could be said for Sadaam that didn’t stop Bush. And Sadaam begat Qaddafi, more facts that you will ignore.

                  1. Hold on! Yes I feel the same about Saddam. A bad guy but one who kept stability, and especially, retarded the growth of jihaadism.

                    And Bush, a fool to invade.

                    but no, he did not “beget” Qadaffi.

                    They are all secular Arab Nationalists in the same vein as Nasser, roughly. Mostly they were on the wrong side because of being pro Soviet and anti Israel. but Qadaffi when he was assasinated, was not “pro soviet” since the soviets are gone, and had made up with a lot of the anti-Israeli mischief he cooked up in the past. He had just been to visit Italy before the SHTF. Qadaffi, talked a lot of garbage, but ran a better state than most every other Scheisshole in Africa

                    I don’t ignore, I see. You need to read up, and then you can see too Ynot

                    1. Stevens was a fool, obviously, but he was still and American Ambassador and it’s a tragedy he was lost. On Hillary’s watch! Fact!

              3. “We acted under NATO approval and with their support..”

                It was our reputation that was destroyed and thus dealing with despots like Kim and Assad became much more difficult.

          2. Dear Anon: Hillary not being charged does not mean she was “exonerated.” You are truly a legal lightweight, although you unabashedly appear to present yourself as a gifted commentator.

            1. Well, a GOP led House Intel Committee found no intentional wrong doing by the Obama Administration at Benghazi. I’d call that exoneration.

              “Ten investigations were conducted into the 2012 Benghazi attack, six of these by Republican-controlled House committees. Problems were identified with security measures at the Benghazi facilities, due to poor decisions made by employees of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and specifically its director Eric Boswell, who resigned under pressure in December 2012.[1] Despite numerous allegations against Obama administration officials of scandal, cover-up and lying regarding the Benghazi attack and its aftermath, none of the ten investigations found any evidence to support those allegations.[2][3][4][5]

              …On August 1, 2014, the House Intelligence Committee has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya,,[14]….”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investigation_into_the_2012_Benghazi_attack

              1. Hillary and Obama lied repeatedly to the public and to families after having disrupted efforts to rescue the employees, retired and silenced officers, and protected from consquences negligent employees of the Department of State.

            1. “That’s not how security agreements work. Read them.”

              Thomas, this came in under my name but I think you were talking to Anon.

      2. Any thoughts about Rachel Russia Russia Russia!!! Maddow, Chris Matthews, and beady eyes “Stop the Hammering”?

      3. Had I or the millions of other Americans who have held a security clearance did what Hillary did, we would have gone to jail. End of story.

  7. “an otherwise blameless life”

    Perhaps someone should look into financial dealings between the judge and Manafort or one of his many associates.

    1. Perhaps someone should look into the gross corruption of Comey, Hillary and Obama.

      Comey wrote Hillary and Obama’s letter of exoneration before the “investigation” was completed.
      ____________________________________________________________________________

      “if Comey had indicted Obama, Comey would have convicted Obama.”

      – Andrew McCarthy, National Review

      1. She was exonerated on Benghazi by a GOP led House and Comey followed the 1941 SC precedent that the Espionage Act balanced on showing a deliberate attempt to harm the US.

        What did you want to charge her with?

        Comey also blew up Hillary’s campaign 2 weeks before the vote while keeping Trump’s investigation secret. How dumb do you think we are?

        1. Comey had reason and probable cause to charge Hillary – by his own enumeration and admission. That was Comey’s function.

          Comey and the FBI investigate; they do not adjudicate.

          Comey criminally and corruptly usurped the power to judge.

          Comey executed a political act as abuse of power.
          _______________________________________________

          FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook
          By Andrew C. McCarthy

          July 5, 2016 4:45 PM

          There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

          Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

          In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

          I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed.

          It is a common tactic of defense lawyers in criminal trials to set up a straw-man for the jury: a crime the defendant has not committed. The idea is that by knocking down a crime the prosecution does not allege and cannot prove, the defense may confuse the jury into believing the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Judges generally do not allow such sleight-of-hand because innocence on an uncharged crime is irrelevant to the consideration of the crimes that actually have been charged.

          It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today. It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information.
          Comments

          I think highly of Jim Comey personally and professionally, but this makes no sense to me.

          Finally, I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence? The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.

  8. Look, it’s really quite simple. He’s white.

    Yes, racism is alive and well in the good ol USA.

  9. The judge recognized the targeted, politically inspired Mueller prosecution recommendations. Murderers, rapists, drug traffickers, sex trafickers, battery assault criminals,etc rarely, if ever, get 25 years. What an insane recommendation by Mueller and indicative of gross overreach. Meanwhile Mueller is aware of and hasn’t investigated or prosecuted many others who committed the same crimes as Manafort. We all know what happenned … and so does the judge.

    1. If you go into most courtrooms, you commonly see prosecutors ask for the maximum available and the defense ask for the minimum possible. Neither side expects to get anything near what they ask.

      1. Richard, Democrats generally expects to get for more than they ask and if they don’t get what they want the cry russia, Russia, RUSSIA.

    1. another interesting interview! I still havent finished the joe rogan podcast, thanks

      https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Mueller-Errand-World-Order/dp/0692188290

      The stuff about Meuller running cover for Saudi mischief in the wake of 9/11 very intriguing!

      But I still think that Uranium one thing is a dead end. Maybe some laws broken and Hillary enriched, but not really all that consequential, not even close to the same scope of harm all her other mischief. And I tire of all the “Russians, Russians” hysteria and see no advantage in people piling on that bandwagon

  10. As Laura Coates pointed out, Judge Ellis, just last year, sentenced a black man to 40 years for selling meth:

    FYI in 2018, JudgeEllis sentenced Frederick Turner, 37, to a mandatory minimum of 40 years in prison for dealing methamphetamine: “I chafe a bit at that, but I follow the law. If I thought it was blatantly immoral, I’d have to resign. It’s wrong, but not immoral.”

    I guess he chose not to follow the law with Manafort. What this sentence reveals fully is that justice and compassion is reserved for certain people, particularly white ones. Khalief Browder, 16 years old, served 3 years in Attica based on an unsupported accusation of stealing a backpack. He refused to take a plea for something he didn’t do & demanded a trial. The brutal time he served was due to his being too poor to come up with bail. Despite his “otherwise blameless life,” he wasn’t given the option of release on his own recognizance, like, for example, Roger Stone, charged with multiple counts of obstruction & witness tampering, He complained to the court that he was in dire financial straits.

    That this judge could eke out compassion for Manafort despite his very serious crimes of which he’d been convicted by a jury, depicting him as a philanthropist who had otherwise led a blameless life made me vomit. We have kids sentenced for shoplifting at the 7-11 doing more time than Manafort who stole millions over decades. We have young black men killed by cops even when no crime has been committed, like the young man asleep in his car at a Taco Bell, allegedly with a gun on his lap, instantly shot 25 times & killed when startled into movement. Despite his otherwise blameless life.

    Yes, elections do have consequences.

    1. blue:

      Key words you copied were “mandatory minimum” sentence. You can thank President Obama for not getting this removed. Trump led the charge for criminal justice reform. Guessed you just missed the news that day.

      1. Sigh. Why do ppl always assume I’m a big fan of Obama & never criticized him for his policies or his inactions? I’m an independent, not a fan or follower who subscribes to a cult. Of course I am angry over the lack of progress win criminal justice reform and the lack of strong leadership in this area. For some reason, you credit Trump with some kind of meaningful reform in the criminal injustice system. As this Manafort case demonstrates, judges have vast & nearly unquestioned discretion when it comes to sentencing. By appointing only white “conservative” judges to our courts, Trump & Republicans undermine his own so-called reform. Note how easily Ellis was able to empathize with Manafort, to the point that he depicted him as some kind of philanthropist who had been living an otherwise blameless life. Ellis also put a lot of weight on the many letters that spoke to Manafort’s esteemed character.

        Do you think that would work for a black person who had stolen millions of dollars from the govt. tampered with witnesses, lied repeatedly under oath? It wouldn’t even work for thee black guy who shoplifted at the convenience store! First offender? More like the first time Manafort was caught & prosecuted; the chronology of his criminal acts spans decades.

        Last year, I took a few days each month to visit courtrooms & observe proceedings. The reality shocked & disturbed me. Needless to say, I’m way too old to get fooled by bs talking points meant to deceive us about reality.

        1. “Do you think that would work for a black person who had stolen millions of dollars from the govt. tampered with witnesses, lied repeatedly under oath?”

          Think of Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, A Hastings, etc.

        2. blue:

          “Why do ppl always assume I’m a big fan of Obama & never criticized him for his policies or his inactions? ”
          ************************

          How’s the view over that conclusion you just leapt to? I made no such assumption. You found it exclusively in your addled brain. I simply put blame where it belonged. You, on the other hand seem, to assume every “white conservative” judge opposes criminal justice reform. Your own quote of Judge Ellis belies that assertion, but when you view your life through the lens of racism you become not only myopic but the very definition of bigot. Project much.

    2. The average sentence for tax evasion is around a year and a half. As to following the law, generally drug offenses are subject to mandatory minimums. I don’t believe Manafort’s crimes are.

    3. like mespo said, its how mandatory minimums work. judges don’t like them but Congress makes the law.

  11. Ellis also said that Manafort led “an otherwise blameless life.” It is hard to see who Ellis was referring to unless Manafort has an evil twin. Manafort has long been viewed as a dubious character in D.C. with shady clients and practices.
    ***************************
    Were having “shady clients and practices” the criteria for enhanced punishment, half of DC would be in stocks and Bill and Hillary would be donning blindfolds and standing side-by-side before a stone wall while marksmen with shouldered firearms wait impatiently for the end of a ten count. If you increase the scope to being “viewed” as having these types of “clients and practices,” DC would be fenced in with patrolling German Shepherds making their rounds along the Potomac.

    1. Mespo, neither Bill nor Hillary has been convicted of any crimes. That might seem like a frivilous point to you but this ‘is’ a legal blog.

      We don’t just generalize here and assume people know what we’re talking about with regards to crimes people ‘obviously’ committed but were never indicted for.

      This is another example of how right-wing media dumbs-people-down: ‘A commenter is confident everyone agrees with an assertion no facts support’.

      1. Yeah, but no one has ever investigated the Clintons or events they supposedly were law breaking participants in. If only Trey Gowdy had stayed in office and the GOP in power, they could have launched a committee investigation.

        1. So why wasn’t one launched when he was in office? He had plenty of time.

          1. “Ten investigations were conducted into the 2012 Benghazi attack, six of these by Republican-controlled House committees. Problems were identified with security measures at the Benghazi facilities, due to poor decisions made by employees of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and specifically its director Eric Boswell, who resigned under pressure in December 2012.[1] Despite numerous allegations against Obama administration officials of scandal, cover-up and lying regarding the Benghazi attack and its aftermath, none of the ten investigations found any evidence to support those allegations….

            On August 1, 2014, the House Intelligence Committee has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya,[14]…”

            The House Committees were under GOP majorities.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investigation_into_the_2012_Benghazi_attack

            1. And remember when Obama sent out his Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, to blatantly lie on all the Sunday shows after the Benghazi attack? Why didn’t they have the actual sitting Secretary of State on all the Sundya shows being questioned…. hmmm….why do you suppose that was?

              And you know, we never did find out why they lied about a video, why Secretary Clinton didn’t go on all the shows to blatanly lie about it, nor did we ever learn where Barack Obama was during the Benghazi attacks….

              1. Yeah! And a lot of people want to know where he was during 911! Proof that he’s a shady guy and, as Trump says, the leader of ISIS!

                I can’t believe most of these comments. Soon you’ll be re-opening the discussion of Hillary’s pedophile ring at Comet Pizza and Obama’s true Kenyan citizenship. Turley has to be horrified.

                1. “Soon you’ll be re-opening the discussion of Hillary’s pedophile ring at Comet Pizza and Obama’s true Kenyan citizenship. Turley has to be horrified.”

                  Blue, Of course you say that in jest but the left has opened the discussion of infanticide. That is not in jest but real and a horror. Baby killers are have come to the forefront of the Democratic Party.

          1. “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”

            – Dizzy Dean
            __________

            “It ain’t arrogance if you can do it.”

            – Jupiter

              1. Seems like you lost the debate and resorted to ad hominem to prove it – a self-resolving case you are.

                You got any more feet or any more mouth?

  12. Ellis knows a witch-hunt when he sees it. Oh they caught a witch, mind you, just seems the hunters were worse characters than the hunted. It’s called giving each side its due. Bravo, Judge Ellis.

    1. Mespo, that was exactly my thoughts when I read this piece Turley wrote. We are looking for justice and based on what Manafort has done maybe he deserves 50 years in jail but can we let the prosecution get away with what they have done? I would gladly trade up to the 50 years for Manafort if we could give the Mueller actions 5 years. I think the Mueller actions have done more damage to the nation than anything Manafort has done.

    2. Perhaps familiarity with how police, the FBI, and prosecutors actually work would be instructive for those crying over the implied persecution of a bystander when seeking a larger target. Manafort wasn’t a bystander. He is a tax cheat on a gargantuan scale, a foreign agent who concealed that identity, and also was the campaign manager of the bigger target. Surely you have watched enough TV, or may know someone who actually prosecutes these kind of cases – I do – to know that getting the small fish – Manafort is relatively if not absolutely small – to roll over on the large fish is SOP – check me on the 40 year rule please That’s Absurd – and if not available as a tool would mean a lot more criminals not convicted. Can we agree that vwithin the constitution we want criminals convicted? If not, your suggestion is…………

      1. Anon:

        “Manafort wasn’t a bystander. He is a tax cheat on a gargantuan scale, a foreign agent who concealed that identity, and also was the campaign manager of the bigger target. ”

        *************************
        So “gargantuan” in fact that a formerly nonpartisan FBI investigated him for it years ago and declined to bring charges until, of course, he was connected to the duly elected POTUS. Then the admittedly partisan FBI (See Horowitz) and its seasonal help in the person of Mueller decided it was high time to hunt a President it didn’t fancy. And that certainly was what you meant when you said “Perhaps familiarity with how police, the FBI, and prosecutors actually work would be instructive for those crying over the implied persecution of a bystander…” And it has been damn instructive. Like watching Mad King George III’s 18th century manipulations was “instructive” to the the Founding Fathers.

        1. The FBI is not partisan, but if it was, prosecution’s intent is irrelevant. Even Ellis doesn’t pretend Manafort isn’t a criminal.

          1. Where’s Tony Podesta? Remember when he abruptly closed down his shop? Hmmm….

          2. Anon:

            “The FBI is not partisan, but if it was, prosecution’s intent is irrelevant. Even Ellis doesn’t pretend Manafort isn’t a criminal.”
            *****************************
            Sure “[t]he FBI is not partisan”: “The [Horowitz] report also reinforced the notion that there was an affirmative view within senior ranks of the FBI that then-candidate Donald Trump should not become president. When asked by FBI official Lisa Page, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?” fellow official Peter Strzok actually replied, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” If you take his words at face value, they point towards something even worse. It appears that Strzok and others demonstrated what the inspector general described as an implied “willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”
            ~Ed Rogers, WaPo, 6/15/2018

            par·ti·san
            /ˈpärdəzən/
            adjective
            adjective: partisan; adjective: partizan

            1.
            prejudiced in favor of a particular cause.

            Connect the dots. If you can’t, are you in the market for a oceanside villa in Orlando?

            1. I honestly wish that had been their intent. The country is now as fraudulent as Trump University…another white collar crime.

              1. Blue:
                Let us know when you’re leaving so we can plan the bon voyage party.

  13. Keep in mind in re Manafort: he was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent (an offense that’s only rarely subject to criminal prosecution), money laundering (a crime in which lawful and unremarkable acts are conceptualized as criminal on the understanding that they are being done to conceal criminal acts), and tax fraud. You have to make use of criminal prosecutions to enforce the tax laws; you cannot run the government without tax collections and the broad public suffer higher tax bills to make up for the people who scam; however, yo do not in tax cases have the sort of acute injury to particular persons you have with other sorts of white collar crime (see Madoff for an extreme example). The tax case wasn’t a priority for the Department of Justice, just a wedge to induce perjured testimony Mueller could use for his real object. He didn’t get what he wanted, which is one reason the recommended sentence was absurd. Again, you’re devotion to professional courtesy is leading you to implicitly advocate things which are in fact monstrous abuses of power.

    1. It has been conclusively proven that Manafort and Gates were Russian agents implanted as moles in the Trump campaign. One of the remaining questions is whether Trump knew that Manafort and Gates were Russian agents at the time Trump hired them for Trump’s campaign for president or at some other point in time along the way to election day. Don’t be so quick to discount Trump’s knowledge of the conspiracy that Manafort and Gates ran with Kilimnik and Deripaska.

        1. Given any American who has actually read Mueller’s court filings on Manafort, your thesis would not hold true for that American.

            1. Beyond your opinion that you think everyone in DC should be doing time, do you have some specific objection to Manafort’s conviction and sentencing? I do and said why.as did Late and That is Absurd

              1. “Do you have some specific objection to Manafort’s conviction and sentencing?”
                **********************
                No I have a substantive due process argument against it, rather than a procedural or merits-based argument. The government shouldn’t treat you differently than its prior determination of your guilt and prosecute you merely because it wants to “get” your affiliate. Damn dirty pool. In addition, what is the societal purpose of incarcerating a politically and economically broken 69-year-old felon. Protecting the public?

            2. Tell it to the other Judge–Amy Berman Jackson. From what I read, she’s not laughing. Maybe your humor is too sardonic for her.

              1. L4D:

                “Maybe your humor is too sardonic for her.”
                ***********************
                Probably so. ABJ looks a tad too thin-skinned and free speech-challenged to get my drift. Very Harvard froufrou, you know.

        2. mespo
          most of America disagrees with your point of view. they proved it in November and will do so again next year.

      1. Diane, I am not standing up for Manafort or Gates, but where is the proof of your contentions?

        As usual, no proof.

        1. Allan, posting excerpts from Mueller’s court filings is a major-league pain the . . . [“Allan”]

          Ha-Ha! My first successful un-redaction.

    2. For better or worse, the recommended sentences were based on federal guidelines, not Mueller’s whim. While it is true that there was no single or small group of individuals who were victimized by his tax fraud, that is a novel but not convincing differentiation. Lastly, the judges incoherent comments and the comparison to severe sentences faced by those of lesser means, including those who stay in jail because can’t make bail, make this sentencing part ridiculous and part obscene.

      1. Judge Amy Berman Jackson is probably going to give Manafort the maximum recommended sentence for his conspiracy with the Russians Konstantin Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska, the former of whom is a Russian intelligence operative and the latter, an oligarch and very closely connected friend of Vladimir Putin.

      2. For better or worse, the recommended sentences were based on federal guidelines, not Mueller’s whim.

        ‘Sez who?

          1. The article cited confirms my statement that the guidelines Ellis ignored were based on federal guidelines, not Mueller’s whim.

            1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

              The sentence in the highest-profile criminal case mounted by the special counsel’s office was far lighter than the 19- to 24-year prison term recommended under sentencing guidelines. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., said that although Mr. Manafort’s crimes were “very serious,” following the guidelines would have resulted in an unduly harsh punishment.

            2. Why are you using a secondary source, and an untrustworthy one at that?

          2. There’s some sort of law (I forget which) that says whatever is placed in a bird cage cannot turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

            (No. It’s not Grimm’s Law. (Although maybe it should be.))

    3. “you’re devotion to professional courtesy is leading you to implicitly advocate things which are in fact monstrous abuses of power.”

      Punishments are somewhat based on damage to people and the nation. Mueller’s damage in my opinion was far greater than Manafort’s.

    4. Yes. I don’t actually see any of these three things as equivalent to stealing except that they’re felonies. Thought, you might say tax fraud is stealing from the US Treasury in a way I guess.

  14. If only manafort didn’t get involved with Trump. He could just go on doing whatever he did and no one would be the wiser. And nothing about Russian collusion.

    1. What crimes would come out if Trump appointed Sheldon Adelson to some position? Perhaps that’s why SA was not given an appointment.

      1. Adelson contributed way far too much to Trump’s campaign for Trump to get away with appointing Adelson to any significant position.

        (I could be wrong.)

          1. Sorry to hear about that. He was born in 1933. So he’s 86 years old now. That’s a pretty good run.

      2. From the Wikipedia article on Sheldon Adelson:

        As of October 2018, Adelson was listed by Forbes as having a fortune of US$33.3 billion, making him the 15th-richest person in the world. He is a major contributor to Republican Party candidates. He has been the largest donor, of any party, in both the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. [He gave] a $25 million donation to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, making him the largest donor to the Trump campaign and the largest donor in the presidential election. [Adelson also] gave the Trump inaugural committee US$5 million.

        [end excerpt]

        There’s some sort of law (I forget which) against buying and selling public offices.

        1. 18 U.S. Code § 210. Offer to procure appointive public office:

          Whoever pays or offers or promises any money or thing of value, to any person, firm, or corporation in consideration of the use or promise to use any influence to procure any appointive office or place under the United States for any person, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

        2. L4D:
          “There’s some sort of law (I forget which) against buying and selling public offices.”
          ********************
          The law is called letting dogs run at large.

        3. People that rich don’t generally serve in government, rather, they tell government what to do. You have to generally report to work when you work for the feds. Why would a mega-billionaire bother.

          As billionaires go, Adelson is pretty far above Trump in terms of resources.

    2. he helped Trump lock up delegates other Republicans were trying to steal.
      It’s Trump that might not have won without him.. So I hear.

  15. A sentence of 19 to 24 years for the crimes of which Manafort was accused is absurd. In New York, you only see those sorts of sentences for Class A-I felonies: murder, 1st degree kidnapping, 1s degree arson, and 1st degree drug trafficking. There is no disconnect in the mind of the judge. The confusion is entirely between your ears.

    1. Mueller’s recommendation was based on federal guidelines. Judge Ellis’s sentence ignored those guidelines. US law recognizes that there are a great many serious crimes that don’t necessarily include the element of violence. Judges sentence shoplifters to more years than Manafort got, & he’s the greater thief who stole millions over many years from the government , us–the taxpayers.

      “Under federal guidelines, Manafort is eligible for a sentence ranging from 19-1/2 to 24 years.

      In the court filing, Manafort’s lawyers asked Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia, for a sentence “substantially below” the guidelines “in light of the fact that the defendant is a first-time offender and given the nature of the offenses.”

      Prosecutors, in a court filing on Feb. 15, said Manafort deserved a sentence within the guidelines and a fine of between $50,000 and $24 million.”

      Jeffery Skilling, CEO of Enron, was sentenced to 25 years with a $45 million penalty. The CFO got 6 years. Bernie Madoff will die in prison. Technically, all first offenders who led “otherwise blameless lives.”

      If there is no punishment for thievery of this magnitude, people will take the risk of committing it, thinking even if they get caught, they’ll have millions of dollars awaiting them once they serve 3 years.

      1. If you want to rob a bank, don’t do it with a gun, do it with a pen. Better yet own big parts of the bank. If you don’t want to pay taxes, hire someone that can make sure you don’t. One can be not guilty in America, if you have the money and connections. And above all, make sure you are born white and privileged. Then for sure you can be found innocent, if you can afford it.

        1. and if you do it that way you too can be a left wing socialist extremist

        2. “If you want to rob a bank, don’t do it with a gun, do it with a pen. Better yet own big parts of the bank.”

          Best of all be one of Biden and Kerry’s offspring, open a hedge fund and rely on your fathers to tell you the secrets occurring in our dealings with China before they are released to the public.

      2. You people keep quoting newspaper articles, not the guidelines. Nor do you give data on the median sentence for this sort of crime.

        Btw, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports (in Prisoners in 2016) a stock of 189,000 federal prisoners and admissions of 44,600 per year. So, we have a mean time served of 51 months (which is longer than the typical served in a state prison). Keep in mind, 40% of those convicted in federal court receive no time. (See Federal Justice Statistics, 2013-14). So, the mean time actually served by convicted defendants in the federal system is 30 months.

        With Manafort, you had a crime that the Justice Department had elected to take a pass on prosecuting which Mueller’s crew dusted off to try to induce perjured testimony.

  16. Wasn’t this like a Double Jeopardy type case?

    With Manafort being charged or investigated for these crimes years ago only to be found not guilty

    The only reason this matter came to light once again was retaliatory because Manafort was involved with Candidate Trump

    Otherwise Manafort would be a free man enjoying his wealth

    Perhaps the Judge recognized that…

    1. Double jeopardy is a protection against multiple prosecutions, not multiple investigations. It is hardly uncommon for investigations of a particular person or crime to stop, and then start again when additional evidence is identified. Much of the work of cold case investigators involves situations where an investigation against a particular suspect is re opened.

      1. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

        What part of the Constitution do you not understand?

  17. I have no problem whatsoever with Manafort’s sentence in EDVA. The quality of mercy is not strained by another 38 months of gentle rain for a man deprived of his ostrich skin jacket.

    P. S. No pardon for Manafort. That would be way far too stupid for Trump. I can handle Trump being arrogant, selectively ignorant, desperate and reckless. But I will never accept the notion that Trump is stupid. That would spoil all the fun.

    1. I seriously doubt he will pardon manafort since all the crimes were old & unrelated anyhow.
      why does he owe Manafort a pardon for stuff that had nothing to do with him?
      Stone on the other hand, will get a pardon, if he’s convicted. Which I doubt will happen.

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