Paul Manafort is 1st-time offender, not "irredeemable felon," his lawyers say ahead of sentencing

Federal guidelines call for a sentence of 20 to 24 years, which his lawyers say is "clearly disproportionate" to the conduct for which he was convicted.
Image: Paul Manafort leaves U.S. District Court
President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort leaves U.S. District Court after a motions hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 4, 2018.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

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By Doha Madani

Lawyers for Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, argued for leniency ahead of his sentencing in Virginia next week.

As a first-time offender, Paul Manafort should get a sentence substantially below the range specified in federal guidelines, his lawyers argued in their sentencing memo filed late Friday in the court in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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The federal guidelines call for a range of 20 to 24 years, the attorneys said.

The court filing echoes points that Manafort's attorneys made in another sentencing memo earlier this week in a Washington, D.C., case, citing his extensive service in the political arena, his success in business, his role as a husband and father, and his age and declining health.

"The Special Counsel's attempt to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts," the memo said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller.

That attempt by the special counsel "falls within the government's pattern of spreading disinformation about Mr. Manafort to impugn his character in a manner that this country as not experienced in decades," Manafort's lawyers contend.

Manafort was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia in August 2018 on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud in August 2018.

Prosecutors said during that trial that Manafort for years hid millions from U.S. tax authorities in overseas accounts, spending the money to maintain a lavish lifestyle and lying to banks to generate more cash.

Manafort will be sentenced in the Virginia case on March 7.