On Friday, CNN reported that special counsel Robert Mueller agrees with the Probation Department’s recommendation of a prison sentence of 19.5 to 24.5 years for President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort:
“In the end, Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars,” prosecutors wrote. “The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes, and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct.”
The ultimate sentence will be decided by Judge T. S. Ellis, who has overseen Manafort’s trial.
Manafort has spent decades involved in shady business with overseas dictators and strongmen, including Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. He enjoyed a “lavish lifestyle” thanks to his money laundering schemes, including multiple homes in New York and a ridiculously opulent collection of suits.
In the run-up to Manafort’s trial, his bail was revoked after he was caught tampering with witnesses. He was convicted on eight counts of bank fraud and tax evasion, and though he promptly entered into a plea agreement with Mueller to avoid a second trial, he consistently lied to investigators he was supposed to be cooperating with.
White-collar crime is a badly unenforced area of law, which likely is why Manafort believed he could do what he did. But because he attached himself to Trump, he will be made to answer for his crimes.