Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, is due to be sentenced on two charges of conspiracy and witness tampering. He pleaded guilty to both as part of his admission that he had orchestrated a vast lobbying and money laundering criminal scheme.
Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were the targets of the first criminal indictment arising from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
However, a judge ruled on Feb 13 that Manafort had breached the plea deal he reached with Mueller, meaning he could potentially face harsher sentences or have charges against him re-filed.
Manafort will be handed an additional sentence on another date for eight financial crimes for which he was convicted at a separate trial in Aug 2018. Mueller said on Feb 15 that Manafort should be sentenced to up to 24 years in prison for these crimes, which he described as “serious, longstanding, and bold.”
A jail term of this length would effectively mean a life sentence for the 69-year-old Manafort.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was also scheduled to be sentenced in March for lying to FBI agents about his contacts with a Russian ambassador, but this has been postponed for a second time following a delay to the trial of Flynn’s onetime business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey. Sentencing was previously delayed in Dec 2018 in order to take stock of Flynn’s cooperation in his business partner’s case.
In January Rafiekian’s lawyers requested that his trial be put off until September or later, a move that could have ripple effects not only for Flynn, but for special counsel Robert Mueller’s ability to wrap up his investigation.
Date written/update: 2019-02-15