Lawyers for Paul Manafort Seek Leniency Ahead of Sentencing

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing in Washington. Manafort is asking a federal judge for leniency as he awaits sentencing in cri

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing in Washington. Manafort is asking a federal judge for leniency as he awaits sentencing in cri

Lawyers for Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, asked a federal judge in Virginia on Friday to hand down a sentence that is significantly below sentencing guidelines, according to a court filing. They also criticized Mueller's team, which had told the court ahead of Wednesday's sentencing that a greed-driven Manafort believed the law didn't apply to him. He was convicted of charges including tax fraud and bank fraud previous year. His attorneys argued in a sentencing memo filed Friday that the sentencing range of 19 1/2 to 24 years in prison is "clearly disproportionate" to his offenses as a first-time offender and given "the nature of the offenses".

Prosecutors accused Manafort of hiding from USA tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, money he used to fund an opulent lifestyle.

"The charges and associated publicity have brought intense, negative media coverage and scrutiny, have destroyed his career, and have resulted in financial hardship for Mr. Manafort and his family", they wrote.

This is the former Trump campaign chairman's second bid for leniency as he faces sentencing in two cases prosecuted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

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"The Special Counsel's conduct comes as no surprise", the attorneys wrote, "and falls within the government's pattern of spreading misinformation about Mr. Manafort to impugn his character in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades".

Prosecutors, in a court filing on February 15, said Manafort deserved a sentence within the guidelines and a fine of between $50,000 and $24 million. They said he was a "relatively healthy 69-year-old man before he was remanded to custody in June 2018" but that his health had deteriorated. Although jurors could not agree on 10 out of 18 charges, Manafort later admitted full culpability while pleading guilty to related crimes in D.C. federal court.

They also said because of the exposure by the special counsel of "every aspect of his life" and the "severe damage" his professional reputation has suffered, Manafort "poses no future risk to the public of reoffending and specific deterrence for a soon to-be septuagenarian is not necessary under these circumstances".

Manafort's sentencing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia.

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