POLITICAL consultant Paul Manafort is a US lobbyist and lawyer who joined Donald Trump’s campaign team in March 2016.
We take a look at why he was on trial, his upcoming sentencing and what the US President has said about him.
Why is Paul Manafort on trial?
Paul Manafort, 69, has been under investigation by various federal agencies in the US.
The charges against him related to his consulting work for the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in the Ukraine.
Manafort surrendered to the FBI on October 30, 2017.
The charges against him include: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to file reports of a foreign bank and financial accounts and being an unregistered agent of foreign principal.
In August, 2018, Manafort was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud.
The charges carry a maximum of 80 years in prison.
A mistrial was declared on the remaining ten charges.
What is his plea deal with Robert Mueller?
Manafort was due to stand trial again, on money laundering tied to his Ukrainian political consulting work.
He pleaded guilty three days before the second trial was due to begin and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller in return for reduced charges.
The deal gives Mueller a key co-operator in his investigation, who led the Trump election effort for a crucial stretch during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Manafort pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington to counts of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice and could still face 10 years in prison.
“He wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life,” said his lawyer Kevin Downing.
“He’s accepted responsibility. This is for conduct that dates back many years and everybody should remember that.”
A judge ruled on February 14 Manafort breached his plea deal by lying about his contact with an alleged Russian spy in 2016
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s ruling was another loss for Manafort, who faces up to five years in prison in two separate criminal cases stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
She said Manafort lied to Mueller about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, his co-defendant who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.
The four-page ruling hurts Manafort’s chance of receiving a reduced sentence, though Jackson said she would decide the exact impact during his sentencing next month.
This revelation could have an impact on Manafort’s sentencing in Virigina after he was found guilty of tax and bank fraud charges.
He faces up to 24 years in prison and £18million in restitution if he received the maximum penalty.
Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Russian meddling
What has Donald Trump said?
The US President has thrown his support behind Manafort, saying his former campaign manager was being treated worse than infamous mobster Al Capone.
Donald Trump vented on Twitter on August 1, firing a number of broadsides at the investigation into Russian election meddling.
Trump wrote: “Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and ‘Public Enemy Number One’, or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement – although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?”
In an earlier tweet, Trump wrote: “Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders.
“He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!”
Speaking in a campaign rally just hours after Manafort was found guilty, Trump blasted: “Paul Manafort is a good man. It doesn’t involve me, but I still feel – you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened.
“This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This is a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace.”
What is Manafort’s net worth?
The net worth of Paul Manfort has come under the spotlight during his trial.
It came to light over Manafort’s request to ease his bail conditions.
Manafort says he is worth $28million (£21.5m) but prosecutors have questioned this, saying he needs to provide evidence about his Trump Tower apartment and insurance policies.
In his bail hearing he said he would put up property to the value of $8m (£6.1m).
He appeared to calculate his Fifth Avenue property at $6m although prosecutors have questioned this, saying it could be as low as $2.5m.
However, anti-money laundering expert Ross Delston has estimated Manafort was worth more than $50m (£38.4m), based on that he was buying multi-million dollar real estate in New York City with cash and then taking out loans against these properties.
In August of 2016, the New York Times reported a handwritten ledger found in Kiev indicated that Manafort was given $12.7million in “undisclosed cash payments” from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
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Manafort’s court appearance on October 19
On Friday, October 19, Paul Manafort appeared in court wearing a green prison jumpsuit with the words “Alexandria inmate” printed on the back.
He was taken in to the court room in a wheelchair, which his lawyer says is due to a medical condition related to his confinement.
He was told he will be sentenced on February 8, 2019, at 9am.
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