by Chuck Ross
A federal judge in Virginia sentenced Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison on Thursday on tax and bank fraud charges, a term much lighter than the sentence that the former Trump campaign chairman faced under federal sentencing guidelines.
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said that guidelines calling for 19-24.5 years in prison for Manafort were “excessive.”
Manafort, 69, said in remarks before the sentence was handed down that his life is in “shambles.” He will be sentenced next week in a separate case in Washington, D.C. where the judge in that case, Amy Berman Jackson, will determine if Manafort can serve a sentence in that case concurrently with his Virginia sentence.
Manafort was convicted on eight fraud-related charges on Aug. 21, 2018. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 14 to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work for the Ukrainian government.
Manafort worked as a press relations guru from 2004 through 2014 for Viktor Yanukovych, who served as Ukraine’s president from Feb. 25, 2010 to Feb. 22, 2014.
None of the charges against Manafort involved allegations of collusion with the Russian government, as Ellis noted during Thursday’s hearing.
“He is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government,” Ellis said.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in April 2016 and focused heavily on wrangling delegates for Trump at the GOP convention. He left the campaign in mid-August 2016 after reports surfaced about payments he received from the Ukraine work.
The longtime GOP operative testified multiple times before Mueller’s grand jury after entering his plea deal. But that agreement fell apart late last year after prosecutors accused Manafort of lying about several aspects of the investigation, including his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Manafort business partner who is believed to have ties to Russian intelligence.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Chuck on Twitter.