Manafort judge: He’s not being convicted of colluding with Russia

Chris White, DCNF

The judge in Paul Manafort’s sentencing hearing said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is not being sentenced to prison for anything related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Reagan-appointed U.S. Judge T. S. Ellis told a court that Manafort “is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government.” Trump’s former confidant was convicted in August 2018 of eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud.

Manafort was accused of concealing income he got from consulting work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. He allegedly used offshore companies to hide the money, which he failed to report on his tax returns. The work for Yanukovych ended in 2014, two years before Manafort joined the Trump team.

Manafort has requested a lesser sentence than the roughly 24 years in prison federal prosecutors initially sought. Sentencing guidelines for such offenses typically call for a prison term of no more than 22 years. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case to charges of foreign lobbying in September 2018.

He entered a cooperation agreement with the special counsel as part of that deal, though prosecutors have since accused him of lying numerous times to investigators.

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