Paul Manafort will serve a total of seven and a half years in prison, faces more new fraud charges

Reuters
Paul Manafort in a police mugshot - REUTERS

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Wednesday to three and a half more years in prison for charges arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 US election.

The sentence of 73 months in prison imposed by US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington came six days after a different judge gave Manafort a lenient term of 47 months - just under four years - in prison in a separate case in Virginia.

Jackson said 30 months of her sentence will run at the same time as the sentence in the Virginia case. That means the combined sentence will be 90 months - seven and a half years. With time already served Manafort will end his sentence in six years and nine months.

Manafort was later charged with further crimes in New York, including an alleged year-long residential mortgage fraud scheme that netted millions of dollars, prosecutors claimed..

If convicted the the state charges could carry a potential sentence of up to 25 years, and were seen as a strategy for preventing a potential presidential pardon.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance unveiled a total of 16 state charges, which could not be pardoned by Mr Trump in the event of convictions because they are state-level.

"No one is beyond the law in New York," Mr Vance said in a statement.

"Following an investigation commenced by our office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York's sovereign interests."

At his sentencing in Washington, Manafort said he was sorry for his actions, but Jackson then told him his expression of remorse rang hollow.

Jackson told Manafort that he had lied repeatedly and committed fraud repeatedly, and there was no good explanation for the leniency he sought.

"Saying 'I'm sorry I got caught' is not an inspiring plea for leniency," Jackson told Manafort, who was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair because of a condition called gout.

Jackson sentenced Manafort, a veteran Republican political operative who earned millions of dollars working for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine, for two conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty in September 2018 in Washington.

Manafort, 69, had not showed any remorse at his sentencing in his other case last Thursday.

"I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today," Manafort told Jackson on Wednesday.

"This case has taken everything from me already - my properties, my cash, my life insurance, trust accounts for my children and grandchildren, and even more," Manafort added.

"The defendant's insistence that none of this should be happening to him ... is just one more thing that is inconsistent with the notion of any genuine acceptance of responsibility," the judge told Manafort.

Jackson said at the outset of the sentencing hearing that she would not be influenced by last Thursday's sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia, where Manafort was convicted in August 2018 by a jury for bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

That 47-month sentence was two decades below the upper limit of federal sentencing guidelines, prompting criticism among some legal experts that it was too light.

Jackson could have given Manafort up to 10 years in prison in the Washington case - five for each of the two conspiracy counts.