Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has filed his sentencing memo in his Virginia case, where he is scheduled to be sentenced next week. The case, brought by special counsel Robert Mueller last February, focused on back fraud and tax fraud allegations. He was convicted by a jury in August.
Manafort did not propose a specific sentence to the judge but he asked for sentence “significantly below” the guideline laid out by the probation office of 19-24 years. He said the probation office’s guideline — which Mueller said he agreed with — is “clearly disproportionate to the offense conduct for which Mr. Manafort was convicted.”
Much of the memo is similar to the sentencing memo filed in his case in D.C., where Manafort pleaded guilty as part of a cooperation deal with Mueller just before that case was set to trial. The plea agreement fell apart after Manafort was accused of lying to investigators.
Manafort argued in his sentencing memo Friday that the charges he faced in both D.C. and in Virginia were “unrelated to the 2016 campaign or any collusion with the Russian government.”
His memo focused specifically on the advisory sentence for his conviction for failing to register his foreign bank accounts. He argued that that conviction should be treated under tax guidelines rather than under guidelines for failure to file a foreign bank account report (FBAR). It critiqued Mueller’s decision to bring the FBAR charges in Virginia after bringing tax-related charges for similar conduct in the D.C. case, and suggested that it was part of an approach to “to ratchet up the pressure” on ” someone caught up in its Russian collusion investigation.”
The memo also takes a swipe at Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime business deputy and former co-defendant who was a witness for Mueller at the Virginia trial. Arguing that the probation office miscalculated the tax loss that was a result of Manafort’s crimes, the memo said that the office’s pre-sentencing report “does not account for funds embezzled by the Special Counsel’s primary cooperating witness at Mr. Manafort’s trial, amounts for which Mr. Manafort would be entitled to claim theft loss deductions.”
The memo comes with letters from Manafort’s family and colleagues painting him as a “generous” and “loyal” family man.
It also describes his career — which included work on several GOP presidential campaigns, as well as for controversial politicians abroad — “as a life advancing American ideals and principles.”
“Though some may disagree with Mr. Manafort’s politics and may not like some of the individuals he worked for, it cannot be said that Mr. Manafort had anything but an extraordinary and largely successful career,” the memo said.
Read the memo below:
Correction: This story previously mischaracterized the sentence Manafort was asking for in Friday’s memo.