Paul Manafort: Ex-Trump chief gets 43 more months in jail

Paul Manafort (file photo)Image copyright AFP
Image caption Manafort said the case had taken everything from him

US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort has been jailed for 43 more months on charges stemming from the Russia investigation.

It comes a week after the 69-year-old was given a 47-month prison sentence for fraud in a separate case.

The latest sentencing arises from two conspiracy charges Manafort pleaded guilty to last year.

Speaking from a wheelchair, he told the federal court in Washington DC that he wanted to apologise for his actions.

In a separate development, Wednesday also saw Manafort charged in New York with residential mortgage fraud and other crimes.

President Trump has the power to pardon his former aide for the federal crimes – but not for the charges brought in New York.

“I do feel badly for Paul Manafort, that I can tell you,” Mr Trump told reporters after the sentencing on Wednesday.

Asked if he was planning to pardon Manafort, the president answered: “I have not even given it a thought, as of this moment. It’s not something that’s right now on my mind.”

Both cases for which Manafort has been convicted stem from an inquiry into alleged Russian election meddling in the 2016 US elections.

None of Manafort’s charges, however, relates to allegations of collusion with Russia. Mr Trump has always denied the charge, describing the inquiry as a “witch hunt”.

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Manafort’s jail term is the longest handed down since the inquiry began.

What happened in court?

On Wednesday, US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to a total of 73 months, of which 30 were to run concurrently with last week’s sentence.

Before sentencing, the judge said it was “hard to overstate” the number of lies and the amount of fraud involved.

“The defendant is not public enemy number one,” she said. “But he is not a victim either.”

In the courtroom, Manafort said: “I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today.

“This case has taken everything from me already – my properties, my cash, my life insurance, trust accounts for my children and grandchildren, and even more.”

Manafort pleaded guilty last September to two felony counts – conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice – related to his lobbying.

He also agreed to co-operate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a deal for a possible lighter sentence.

However, just two months later that plea deal collapsed as investigators said Manafort had repeatedly lied to the government.

What happened in the other case?

Last week, a judge in Alexandria, Virginia, sentenced Manafort to nearly four years for hiding millions of dollars of income earned by his consulting work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

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That sentence was far shorter than that recommended by Mr Mueller, who had sought a minimum of 19 years.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Manafort pictured with Donald Trump at the Republican Convention in July 2016

Last August, a jury convicted him of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to declare a foreign bank account.

The judge, however, declared a mistrial on 10 other fraud-related charges.

As well as the prison term, Manafort was ordered to pay $24m (£18m) in restitution and a $50,000 fine.

Manafort served for three months as Trump’s campaign chairman until August 2016, when he was forced to resign over his previous work in Ukraine.

He was the first former Trump aide to be arrested in the special counsel investigation, in October 2017.

Manafort’s legal team had previously said he suffered from debilitating foot pain resulting from gout as a result of his incarceration.

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