It’s always interesting when “tough guy” white-collar criminals like former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort degenerate into whining, sniveling crybabies when the reality of prison sets in.
In court filings begging for leniency on Friday, ahead of his sentencing next week, Manafort’s essentially pleaded: Boo-hoo, poor me. Evil Mueller is so unfair.
In his case in Virginia, where he will be sentenced on March 7 after being convicted of tax fraud, failing to report foreign financial accounts, and bank fraud, defense attorneys filed a memo arguing for a lighter sentence because he is a first-time offender and in poor health. Friends and family submitted letters of support. Sentencing guidelines call for 20-24 years in prison.
Similar to another memo filed earlier this week in another case in Washington, DC, in which Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, Manafort’s attorneys attempted to portray Special Counsel Robert Mueller as an untempered bully who has gone beyond the parameters of his mandate to investigate Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in attacking the 2016 presidential elections.
“The Special Counsel’s attempt to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts before this Court,” Manafort’s attorneys wrote to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III. “The Special Counsel’s conduct comes as no surprise, and falls within the government’s pattern of spreading misinformation about Mr. Manafort to impugn his character in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades.”
The memo added: “The cases that Special Counsel have brought against Mr. Manafort have devastated him personally, professionally, and financially. The charges and associated publicity have brought intense, negative media coverage and scrutiny, have destroyed his career, and have resulted in financial hardship for Mr. Manafort and his family.”
The memo also notes that Manafort has worked for four U.S. presidents, and he “has spent a lifetime promoting democratic values and assisting emerging democracies to adopt reforms necessary to become a part of Western society.” If by “Western society” the lawyers mean a corrupt one, then yes, that’s probably true.
In the DC case, in which Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson reaffirmed on Friday that Manafort had violated his plea agreement with the government by lying about his association with suspected Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik, CNN reported. That’s more bad news for Manafort that no amount of attacking Mueller will alleviate. He faces up to 10 years in prison in that case.
Manafort, 69, has only been in jail for nine months while awaiting sentencing. According to his attorneys, he’s not handling it very well.
From the memo filed in Virginia:
The conditions of Mr. Manafort’s incarceration have taken an even greater toll on his mental and emotional health…To ensure his safety, Mr. Manafort is confined to solitary confinement at the Alexandria Detention Center where he spends 21 hours a day locked in a cell alone. Family visitation time is limited to just two 30-minute visits per week; as a result, he meets more often with his legal team than his loved ones. He suffers from severe anxiety, panic attacks, and a constant feeling of claustrophobia while he is locked alone in his cell each day. These conditions of confinement were designed for violent offenders who pose risks to the safety of other inmates or jail personnel, or who are placed in solitary confinement as punishment for disciplinary infractions; they were surely not intended for the long-term confinement of a first-time white-collar offender of Mr. Manafort’s age and health.
Oh, cry me a river.