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Ex-Trump aide should be jailed for 19 – 24 years – Robert Mueller

Ex-Trump aide should be jailed for 19 - 24 years - Robert Mueller

Paul Manafort

US President Donald Trump’s former election campaign chief Paul Manafort, should be jailed for up to 24 years, special counsel Robert Mueller says.

Manafort was convicted of financial fraud on charges relating to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

He accepted a plea deal on the charges in return for co-operating with Mr Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election campaign.

But he was found guilty earlier this week of breaching his plea deal.

The 69 year old, who was one of the first people to be investigated in the probe, was found to have lied to prosecutors.

On Thursday, US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort had “made multiple false statements” to the FBI, Mr Mueller’s office and a grand jury.

On Friday, a court document filed by Mr Mueller’s office said it agreed with a US Department of Justice calculation that Manafort should face between 19 and 24 years in prison and a fine of between $50,000 (£39,000) and $24m.
“While some of these offences are commonly prosecuted, there was nothing ordinary about the millions of dollars involved in the defendant’s crimes, the duration of his criminal conduct or the sophistication of his schemes,” the document reads.

“The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes, and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct.”

In her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Berman Jackson said there was evidence that showed Manafort had lied about three different topics, including his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant. Prosecutors claim Mr Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence.

What was the plea deal?

Last August, Mr Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose bank accounts.

A month later he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the US and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plea bargain with Mr Mueller. The agreement avoided a second trial on money laundering and other charges.

The plea deal meant Manafort would face up to 10 years in prison and would forfeit four of his properties and the contents of several bank accounts – but deadlocked charges from the previous trial would be dismissed.

It was the first criminal trial arising from the Department of Justice’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.

However, the charges related only to Manafort’s political consulting with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign.

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