Legal woes for Paul Manafort [photo], President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, shifted to New York’s Southern District on Wednesday shortly after he bagged three and half years in Washington DC’s 9th circuit
State prosecutors in New York have charged Paul Manafort with mortgage fraud and other charges – in a sudden development that unfolded just minutes after federal judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a sentence that could put him in prison for nearly seven years.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office today charged Paul Manafort with mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy.
The charges were a stark reminder that even if President Trump were to pardon his longtime campaign chair for the federal charges he has been convicted of committing, he could still do time.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. revealed the charges in a 16-count indictment Wednesday afternoon. The New York crimes Manafort is being charged with are residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying records, and a scheme to defraud. The alleged scheme involved falsifying bank records in order to obtain big loans.
‘No one is beyond the law in New York,’ Vance said in a statement announcing the charges. The state investigation had been ongoing, and was brought before a grand jury in New York.
The development came after a federal judge sentenced former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to an additional 43 months in prison Wednesday a – making a determination that could put him behind bars for nearly seven more years.
The charges were filed on March 7.
The latest legal chapter burst onto the scene just after Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down the sentence at a dramatic hearing where she tore into Manafort for his deception, lack of remorse, and even his lavish spending habits.
Manafort could face years in prison if he’s convicted for the charges.
The most serious of the charges, residential mortgage fraud, carries a prison sentence of a minimum of one to three years in prison and a maximum of just over eight to 25 years.
If Manafort is convicted for crimes in Manhattan, a presidential pardon wouldn’t apply.
Paul Manafort, earlier in a DC federal court on Wednesday was hit with a 43-month sentence in addition to the 47 month sentence he was handed in a federal court in Arlington, Virginia. His team will now have tp prep for a face off with Manhattan’s Southern District
The sentence adds an additional 3 1/2 years onto Manafort’s jail time, through complicated calculations that involved some time served concurrently, and credit for time he has already served.
It comes on top of a 47 month sentence he got last week, a sentence that has been criticized as too lenient but that Jackson said did not affect her ruling. He may also get a reduction for good behavior.
Jackson’s sentence exceeded that amount, totaling 60 months, minus 30 to be served concurrently with his other sentence.
The sentence could get a reduction of 15 per cent for good behavior.
Paul Manafort’s wife Kathleen [second left], leaves US District Court in Washington, DC on March 13, 2019 after her husband’s sentencing. The judge was not moved by the defense argument or leniency because he is his wife’s primary care giver
Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, whom he had invoked in seeking leniency, had just left the courtroom when the latest legal blow struck.
The latest charges relate to loans Manafort received on a Howard St. condo in SoHo that was allegedly used to launder money. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors brought up loans at his earlier trial. The latest indictment includes emails seeking an appraisal and loan. The Mueller indictment states that Manafort got the apartment for $2.85 million transferring funds from a company in Cyprus, then falsely claimed it was a second home for his daughter and son-in-law, and used it as an Airbnb rental.
Manafort’s defense attorney Kevin Downing was drowned out by protests speaking to reporters after his client, was sentenced to about 3-1/2 more years in prison, as his speech focused on the probe on Russian collusion even after the judge had told him off for dragging that issue into a fraud and conspiracy case
Manafort said in federal court Wednesday he was ‘sorry’ for the crimes he admitted to – just a week after failing to express remorse in another court last week.
But Judge Jackson said there was ‘no reason’ to justify leniency that Manafort was seeking, tearing into the defendant’s conduct as she prepared to announce her decision.
She said the ‘element of remorse and responsibility were completely absent’ from Manafort’s filings. ‘Saying I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency,’ Judge Jackson said from the bench.
‘It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved,’ Judge Jackson told her courtroom while Manafort’s fate hung in the balance.
She accused Manafort of lying to members of Congress and the American public by failing to accurately disclose his overseas lobbying work.
The judge even brought up the ‘opulent’ lifestyle Manafort lived off monies he failed to report to tax authorities – even referencing his infamous $15,000 ostrich leather bomber jacket and other tailored garments submitted by prosecutors.
Manafort splurged on ‘more suits than one man can wear,’ she said.
‘There’s no question that this defendant knew better, and he knew exactly what he was doing,’ said the judge.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, on Wednesday reminded Manafort and his attorney’s that facts matter in court. She sent manafort to federal prison for 43 months
Then she unloaded on him for witness tampering even after being charged with federal crimes.
‘He pled guilty to conspiring to corruptly persuade another person — two people — with the intent to influence their testimony in an official proceeding. And which official proceeding? This one – the case against Mr. Manafort himself,’ she said.
However the judge took pains to note that Manafort was not being sentenced for anything having to do with collusion in this case.
Kathleen Manafort, wife of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the US District Court in Washington, DC on March 13, 2019. She had just left after sentencing when the New York charges were revealed
‘The question of collusion or conspiracy with Russia was not presented in this case, therefore it was not resolved in this case,’ she said, as her barbs filtered out of the courtroom.
She said of the Manafort’s defense use of the ‘no collusion’ argument that it was ‘just one more thing that’s inconsistent with any genuine acceptance of responsibility.’
The statement comes amid one final potential play hanging in the background of Manafort’s case – whether President Trump will issue a pardon that could let his former campaign chair out of prison at any point.
In a sharp line freighted with political implications in Washington, Judge Jackson said court is a place ‘where facts still matter.’