Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump who found himself one of the major players at the epicenter of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, will be sentenced Thursday afternoon at a federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
U.S. Judge T.S. Ellis told a court that Manafort "is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government". They are expected to tell the judge Manafort is remorseful and that the sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors call for a prison term disproportionate to the offenses he committed.
Manafort faces sentencing in a separate case next Wednesday in Washington on two conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty last September.
Prosecutors also believe Manafort still poses a risk of recidivism, noting that he lied to the government and the grand jury as recently as a year ago.
Manafort is one of a half dozen former Trump associates and senior aides charged by Mueller, who has been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Even after his trial and guilty plea, Manafort's legal team had an unusual arrangement with Trump's legal team that gave Trump's team insight into the questions Mueller's team was pursuing.
Speaking from his chair, Manafort did not apologize for his crimes, but thanked the judge for how he had conducted the trial.
"Paul Manafort's deceit has now extended to virtually everyone he's met, I mean his nose is longer than Pinocchio's at this point", said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi.
In a 17-page court filing submitted late Tuesday to the U.S. District Court in Virginia, Mueller pushed back against Manafort's assertion that he has accepted responsibility for his crimes and deserves a reduced sentence, arguing that the longtime Republican consultant shows a "lack of remorse".
"Given the investigation's focus on President Trump's campaign, even a blind person can see that the true target of the special counsel's investigation is President Trump, not defendant, and that defendant's prosecution is part of that larger plan", Ellis wrote in a June 2018 opinion that ultimately allowed Mueller to proceed with the case.
Manafort, who has been dealing with health issues, looked unwell as he entered the courtroom in a wheelchair.
Jackson on February 13 ruled that Manafort had breached his agreement to cooperate with Mueller's office by lying to prosecutors about three matters pertinent to the Russia probe including his interactions with a business partner they have said has ties to Russian intelligence.
"I know it is my conduct that brought me here", he said, per CNNN. Manafort, according to the filing, owes the government millions of dollars in taxes. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years behind bars. He described his life as "professionally and financially in shambles".
Manafort's team accused Mueller of attempting to "vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon", saying investigators' actions were "beyond the pale" and "grossly" overstated the facts of the case.