Mueller Urges no Leniency for Manafort: He “Repeatedly and Brazenly Violated the Law”

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Paul Manafort looks on during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
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In a 25-page sentencing memo that was accompanied by 800 pages of partially redacted exhibits, special counsel Robert Mueller didn’t take a position on how long President Donald Trump’s campaign manager should serve behind bars. But Mueller’s team does make it clear that he sees no reason at all to go easy on a man who has “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law” for more than a decade and amazingly continued committing crimes even after he was indicted. The way in which Manafort lied to prosecutors even after he agreed he would be cooperating with them, “reflects a hardened adherence to committing crimes and lack of remorse,” Mueller’s team wrote in the memo that was filed late Friday and made public Saturday.

Even though Mueller’s team doesn’t specify a time Manafort should spend in prison, they do point out that according to the sentencing guidelines, Manafort could face from 17.5 years to almost 22 years in prison. And there’s no reason to think he deserves a shorter sentence. “Nothing about Manafort’s upbringing, schooling, legal education, or family and financial circumstances mitigates his criminality,” notes the memo. “Based on his relevant sentencing conduct, Manafort presents many aggravating sentencing factors and no warranted mitigating factors,” adds the memo.

The sentencing memo for the case that has to do with conspiracy charges for failing to report lobbying activities and trying to get witnesses to change their stories pulls no punches in how it describes the criminal activity of Trump’s former campaign manager. “His criminal actions were bold, some of which were committed while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was on bail from this court,” the Mueller memo said. “Manafort’s conduct after he pleaded guilty is pertinent to sentencing. It reflects a hardened adherence to committing crimes and lack of remorse.”

Prosecutors also warned that Manafort was the kind of offender who would likely commit more crimes after his sentence. “His deceit, which is a fundamental component of the crimes of conviction and relevant conduct, extended to tax preparers, bookkeepers, banks, the Treasury Department, the Department of Justice National Security Division, the FBI, the Special Counsel’s Office, the grand jury, his own legal counsel, Members of Congress, and members of the executive branch of the United States government. In sum, upon release from jail, Manafort presents a grave risk of recidivism,” Mueller’s office wrote.

The memo also didn’t take a position on whether the sentence in the criminal case in Washington, D.C. case should run concurrently with his sentence in the Virginia case in which a jury convicted Manafort of several financial crimes, including tax fraud and bank fraud. In that case, prosecutors said they agreed with advisory sentencing guidelines that would set Manafort’s prison term at 19 to 24 years behind bars.

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