Former Trump campaign chief Manafort to be sentenced March 8


WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, will be sentenced for bank and tax fraud on March 8, according to a court filing posted on Thursday, just days before he is due to be sentenced in a separate case for lobbying violations.

Manafort, 69, could spend the rest of his life in prison for charges stemming from his work as an international political consultant and lobbyist.

He is one of the first people in Trump’s orbit to face criminal charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Mueller is urging a federal judge in Virginia to impose a prison sentence of up to 24 years and a fine of up to $24 million, after a jury found Manafort guilty of trying to hide millions of dollars he earned as a consultant for pro-Russian leaders in Ukraine, and lying to banks to secure loans to fund his lavish lifestyle after that income dried up.

Manafort is also due to be sentenced on March 13 in a parallel federal case in Washington.

He pleaded guilty last year to a conspiracy against the United States for conduct that ranged from money laundering to unregistered lobbying and admitted to witnessing tampering as well.

But US Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled last week that he violated his plea deal by lying to prosecutors, which removes their obligation to ask for a lighter sentence. Legal experts say he faces up to a decade in prison for those crimes.

In the bank and tax fraud case, Manafort has until March 1 to submit a filing arguing for a lighter sentence to US District Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia. Mueller’s office will be able to file a reply to Manafort’s memo by March 6.

Russia denies meddling in the election. Trump has said there was no collusion between his Republican campaign and Russia and has labelled Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt.