Robert Mueller’s sentencing guidelines suggested that Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, receive 19-24 years behind bars for eight counts of bank and tax fraud. Therefore, when the news broke that Manafort received a sentence of only 47 months, many on the left expressed outrage and indignation. Starting at 1:20 in the video above, Tucker Carlson provides a sampling of their reactions. Former CIA Director John Brennan, who was the initial promoter of the Trump/Russia collusion narrative was perhaps the most angry of them all. He said, “It’s an extraordinarily lenient sentence in light of the extent and the scope of Mr. Manafort’s criminality.” (Maybe, we’ll have the opportunity one day to remind of his statement if he is held accountable for his role in the Russian collusion conspiracy.)
Carlson points out that 24 years is more than twice the length of time the average murderer spends behind bars in the US.
The Washington Post bucked the trend and actually defended Manafort’s shorter than expected sentence, even suggesting that four years was slightly longer than the average sentence of those convicted of similar crimes which they report is 31 months.
Well, what do you know. https://t.co/5BhtJSUo7O
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 9, 2019
The Washington Post’s Justin Jouvenal reported:
A review of data for all 452 similar cases nationwide in fiscal 2018 show President Trump’s former campaign chairman received a sentence that was somewhat stiffer than other federal defendants’ prison terms.
The average prison sentence in such bank-fraud cases was about 31 months, roughly 16 months shorter than the 47 months Manafort received for convictions in federal court in Northern Virginia, according to an analysis of court data maintained by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).
But Manafort, who was convicted by a jury in August 2018, fared much better when compared with other defendants who were also convicted by federal juries.
The average sentence for those trials, 22 in all, was 98 months, according to the analysis.
Exact comparisons are impossible, as no two cases are exactly alike. The TRAC database allows users only to compare cases with the same lead charge — the count a prosecutor deems the most important. But each defendant may also have been convicted of other charges that could affect the length of the sentence imposed.
According to the Washington Post, “sentencing guidelines are advisory only, and federal judges in the Eastern District of Virginia issue lower sentences in nearly a quarter of cases, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.”
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis felt that Mueller’s suggested guideline was “excessive for this case” given Manafort’s lack of a criminal history and the “exemplary and generous” life he has lived. Manafort will get credit for the nine months he has already served. Ellis also stressed that none of these crimes involved Russian collusion.
Prior to sentencing, Manafort’s lawyers cited several cases involving similar crimes where the individuals had received lenient sentences.
Fox News reported that Manafort arrived at the courtroom in a wheelchair and he appeared “unwell.” They added that Manafort experienced difficulty moving his feet from the chair’s resting bar onto the floor.
Upon hearing his sentence, the reporter said Manafort appeared “red-faced and emotional.”
CNN published a copy of Manafort’s pre-sentencing statement which appears below:
1. The last 2 years have been the most difficult that my family and I have ever experienced.
2. The person that I have been described as in public is not someone I recognize. To say that I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement.
3. But the worst pain that I feel is the pain that I know my family is feeling. My whole life, I have been most proud of being their protector. It pains me deeply that I have caused them suffering.
4. What has been uplifting to me is the outpouring of support and affection that I have received, not just from family and friends, but from total strangers. This support and the incredible power of their prayers have sustained me through these terrible times.
5. Having been separated from my family over the last 9 months has been so hard. At a time when I had planned on spending quality time giving back to my family, I have needed to rely on them for support. I truly feel the bonds of their love and have been strengthened by them.
6. I love them so much.
7. In the midst of my pain, I must tell you that I appreciate the fairness of the trial that you conducted.
8. I know this was not easy given the media frenzied atmosphere surrounding the trial.
9. I can say to you that I feel the punishment from this prosecution, already, and know that it was my conduct that brought me here.
10. 9 months of solitary confinement, after 7 months of home arrest, have affected my physical and mental health. My life, professionally and financially, is in shambles.
12. I feel the pain and shame.
13. I say all of this to let the court know I will never put myself in questionable circumstances in the future.
14. Sitting in solitary confinement, I have had much time to reflect about my life and my choices, and the importance of family and friends. This reflection has created a desire to turn my notoriety into a positive and show the world who I really am.
15. With the power of prayer and God’s guiding hand, I know that my family and I will emerge stronger from this ordeal, an ordeal that I am responsible for.
16. Again,I thank you for a fair trial. Your wisdom and management of your courtroom gave me hope for our political system.
17. I am ready for your decision and ask for your compassion.
Manafort is scheduled to appear on Wednesday in the Washington D.C. District Court for sentencing on illegal lobbying charges. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will be presiding over this case, is said to be less sympathetic than Judge Ellis.
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