Mueller Calls For Harsh Sentence In Manafort Case, Citing 'Gravity' Of Crimes

A critical document that could spell out Paul Manafort's cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller was not publicly filed before its midnight Friday deadline.

Mueller's team did not provide new details on Manafort's interactions with an alleged Russian intelligence operative, or make any new allegations tying Manafort to Russia's election interference.

"Based on his relevant sentencing conduct, Manafort presents many aggravating sentencing factors and no warranted mitigating factors."

Mueller's team isn't taking a position on whether Manafort's prison sentence should run concurrently or consecutively with separate punishment he faces in a bank and tax fraud case in Virginia.

Mueller's office said it was not recommending a specific sentence for Manafort, who pleaded guilty in September to two counts of conspiracy stemming from his Ukrainian political consulting work. Even after his plea, prosecutors said, Manafort repeatedly lied to investigators, including about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who the us says has ties to Russian intelligence. But because she found he lied to investigators and breached that agreement, they are no longer bound by it.

Manafort gave inconsistent accounts of an August 2016 meeting in New York City at which he and Kilimnik discussed a peace plan for Ukraine, a top foreign policy priority for Russian Federation. Court papers have said Manafort shared polling data related to the Trump campaign with an associate the Federal Bureau of Investigation says has ties to Russian intelligence.

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Trump has not ruled out issuing a pardon for Manafort, who worked for the campaign during five pivotal months in the middle of 2016 including during the party's national convention.

Manafort struck a plea deal at the time and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's ongoing "Russiagate" investigation.

William Barr, the new U.S. attorney general, is expecting to receive a report from Mueller in the coming weeks that would signal the end the special counsel's investigation, according to several media reports.

The collapse of Manafort's plea agreement was a dramatic turn in his 16-month legal saga, after Mueller brought charges against him and his longtime business associate, Rick Gates in October 2017.

That initial indictment focused on money laundering allegations and claims they failed to disclose foreign lobbying related to work they did in Ukraine predating the 2016. Five days earlier, he'll learn his sentence for the eight financial fraud convictions in the separate case in Virginia. Trump has not indicated whether he intends to pardon Manafort, though he repeatedly expressed support for him as his trial played out past year.

Manafort was convicted by a jury in the Virginia case last summer. He plead guilty in the D.C. case in September, just before its trial was set to begin.

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