Manafort Claims No ‘Evidence’ Of Collusion As He Asks Judge For Leniency

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February 25, 2019 10:23 p.m.

In asking for a federal judge in D.C. to hand down a sentencing “significantly” lower than the statutory maximum, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller had found “no evidence” of Russian collusion while suggesting the special counsel sought to pressure Manafort to flip on others.

His attorneys claimed in the sentencing memo filed Monday that Manafort had been “widely vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades.”

The prosecutions brought against Mr. Manafort have devastated him personally, professionally, and financially. The charges and intense negative media coverage surrounding them have destroyed his career,” the court filing said, later adding that a “lengthy jail sentence is not called for in this case.”

Mueller, in the sentencing memo his team submitted late last week, did not make a formal sentencing recommendation, but noted the 17 to 22 years laid out in the federal sentencing guidelines. Manafort will be sentenced by a separate federal judge in Virginia for the bank fraud and tax fraud case that a jury convicted him in last summer.

The Special Counsel’s attempt to portray him as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts before this Court,” Manafort’s sentencing memo filed Monday said.

In the memo, Manafort asked the U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to hand down a sentence in the D.C. case — where Manafort pleaded guilty in September to obstruction of justice and conspiracy against the U.S. — that would run concurrently with the sentence he receives from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, the judge in Virginia.

Manafort argued that the Justice Department rarely prosecutes violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act — a charge that Mueller brought against Manafort in the D.C. case before his plea.

“Indeed, it is fair to say that, but for the appointment of the Special Counsel and his Office’s decision to pursue Mr. Manafort for a rarely prosecuted FARA violation, Mr. Manafort would not have been indicted in the District of Columbia,” the sentencing memo said, while arguing that this case “involves a magnitude of harshness previously unknown in the enforcement of FARA.”

The memo criticized the “harsh tactics” prosecutors used against Manafort that “are usually employed in organized crime cases, not tax investigations or cases involving allegations that the defendant failed to file a form identifying lobbying activities.”

Hie lawyers defended Manafort’s consulting work in Ukraine, and more broadly Manafort’s career, with his attorneys claiming that Manafort had spent  “a lifetime promoting American democratic values and assisting emerging democracies to adopt reforms necessary to become a part of Western society.”

The memo also included as exhibits several letters from Manafort’s family and colleagues.

Read the memo and the exhibits below:

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