U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort committed an array of serious crimes, repeatedly lied to investigators and poses a major risk of re-offending upon release from any prison sentence, according to a redacted sentencing memo filed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller’s office said it was not recommending a specific sentence for Manafort, who pleaded guilty in September to two counts of conspiracy stemming from his Ukrainian political consulting work.
However, it argued that there are “many aggravating sentencing factors and no warranted mitigating factors” in Manafort’s conduct, a recommendation that increases the likelihood that the once-wealthy political consultant will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
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“Manafort committed an array of felonies for over a decade, up through the fall of 2018. Manafort chose repeatedly and knowingly to violate the law,” Mueller’s sentencing memo reads.
“His criminal actions were bold, some of which were committed while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was on bail from this court. And the crimes he engaged in while on bail were not minor; they went to the heart of the criminal justice system, namely, tampering with witnesses so he would not be held accountable for his crimes,” it adds.
Mueller’s office said last year that Manafort tried to call, text and send encrypted messages to two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” a firm he worked with to promote Ukrainian interests.
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“Even after he purportedly agreed to co-operate with the government in September 2018, Manafort, as this court found, lied to the [FBI], this office, and the grand jury… in sum, upon release from jail, Manafort presents a grave risk of recidivism,” the memo continues.
“Nothing about Manafort’s upbringing, schooling, legal education, or family and financial circumstances mitigates his criminality.”
On Feb. 13, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort misled the FBI, prosecutors and a federal grand jury about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.
Prosecutors had accused Manafort of lying about several discussions the two men had including about a possible peace plan to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Crimea.
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Mueller’s team isn’t taking a position on whether Manafort’s prison sentence should run concurrently or consecutively with separate punishment he faces in a bank and tax fraud case in Virginia.
Their document was filed under seal on Friday. It was publicly released Saturday after a judge had a chance to review and approve proposed redactions of sensitive information.
— With files from the Associated Press