Judge: Manafort Faces 'Very Real Possibility' of Life in Prison

Elias Hubbard
March 13, 2018

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, has a reasonable chance of being a flight risk, a USA district judge wrote in an order that was made public on Tuesday, Politico reported.

In October 2017, a grand jury in Washington, D.C., empaneled by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE charged Manafort with money laundering and for failing to report his prior work with Ukraine.

"Given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison", wrote Ellis, a Reagan appointee. Manafort pleaded not guilty last month to the superseding indictment, with its 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud.

The court order released Tuesday details Manafort's conditions of release. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has rejected prior offers from Manafort, saying that it was not clear that the available value in the properties after any mortgages amounted to the $10 million figure she is seeking.

He faces eighteen counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and bank fraud conspiracy at a federal trial court in Alexandria, Va., and twelve counts of money laundering, conspiracy against the United States, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) at the federal trial court in Washington, D.C. He is allowed out of his home for court appearances, medical appointments and emergencies.

Manafort, the well-known political operative with a long history of work in Republican circles, is also facing charges at U.S. District Court in Washington. Though he is not likely to receive the maximum penalties, at 68, Manafort faces the serious prospect of life in prison, even with a reduced sentence.

Manafort's conditions of release are now subject to approval by two judges, with the result that the once high-flying global consultant is now wearing two bracelets to allow his movements to be tracked by GPS.

Mueller's move to drop the second round of charges against Gates indicates his cooperation with the special counsel team could be yielding good information, as it pursues charges against Manafort.

Mueller's most recent indictment document alleges that Manafort, together with his long-time business partner and deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, set up offshore bank accounts that they then failed to disclose to the proper authorities, and laundered over $75 million through these accounts. "For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise".

Politico first reported on the new filing, dated Friday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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