UPDATE: Paul Manafort indicted by Manhattan prosecutors in mortgage fraud scheme

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(NBC) – Paul Manafort has been indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted on 16 counts tied to residential mortgage fraud and conspiracy, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

The 69-year-old longtime GOP operative is accused of falsifying business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars as part of a yearlong mortgage fraud scheme.

“No one is beyond the law in New York,” 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, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market. I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”

Word of the indictment came less than an hour after Manafort was sentenced to an additional 43 months in prison by a Washington federal judge on conspiracy charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump has the power to pardon Manafort on federal charges, but the president would not be able to intervene in the event of a conviction on state charges.

Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, did not immediately return a request for comment on the new charges brought by the New York prosecutors.


(NBC) – Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced Wednesday to 43 additional months in prison by a federal judge in Washington on conspiracy charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort, 69, had faced up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the two charges related to undisclosed lobbying work he did for pro-Russian political figures in Ukraine. The sentence will bring his total time in prison to 7 years and six months after his sentencing last week from a federal judge in Virginia on tax and bank fraud charges also brought by Mueller.

The judge in that case, T.S. Ellis, sentenced Manafort to considerably less time than the federal guidelines, a punishment many experts saw as relatively lenient.

Jackson made it clear before handing down her sentence that her decision does not vindicate or refute the special counsel’s investigation, before excoriating Manafort for his deceptions and what she saw as his unwillingness to accept genuine responsibility for his crimes.

“The defendant isn’t public enemy number one. But he’s not a victim either,” she said, adding that it is “hard to overstate the number of lies, the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved.”

The judge said that Manafort’s fraud wasn’t to support his family, but to live a lavish lifestyle, including buying “more suits than one man can wear.”

She went on to blast Manafort for his questionable lobbying work, saying it “infects our policymaking.” She said that by acting as an unregistered foreign agent, Manafort was contradicting American values.

“What you were doing was lying to Congress and the American public,” she said, adding that Manafort has shown a “deliberate effort to obscure the facts.”

“If the people don’t have the facts, democracy can’t work.” And, she added, “court is one of those places where facts still matter.”

Manafort, 69, appeared before Jackson in a wheelchair and wearing a dark suit. During his statement, Manafort stayed seated and assured the court he had changed and took responsibility for his crimes.

“I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today,” he said. “I stand here today to assure the court that I am a different person who stood before you in October of 2017.”

He added, “I know it was my conduct that brought me here today. For these mistakes, I am remorseful. I will be 70 years old in a few weeks. My wife is 66. She needs me. I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other. Please do not take away from us away from each other. Please let me and my wife be together.”

It was a stark contrast to his brief remarks to the court last week, in which he did not apologize or express regret for his crimes, prompting an admonishment from Judge Ellis. His relationship with his wife and the matter of his age also went unmentioned.

The longtime political operative pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges in the D.C. courtroom last September, after he was convicted on eight felony fraud counts in his Virginia case.

In the D.C. case, he faced one count of participating in a conspiracy against the United States, which involved money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and lying and misrepresenting to the Department of Justice. The second count, conspiracy to obstruct justice, is tied to his efforts to guide witness testimony after he was indicted in 2017.

Manafort and his legal team have a contentious relationship with Jackson. She has often scolded his legal counsel for their conduct, enough so that Manafort’s lead counsel, Kevin Downing, largely handed off arguments to another defense lawyer, Richard Westling. She also revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail last June after allegations of witness tampering surfaced.

“I cannot turn a blind eye to this,” Jackson said at the time. “This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone.”

Before the judge ruled Wednesday, prosecutors reminded the court of Manafort’s post-plea conduct, in which he lied under oath multiple times.

Jackson had previously agreed with the special counsel’s assessmentthat Manafort lied to investigators on three occasions and violated the plea deal that would have made him eligible for a lighter sentence. According to the court, Manafort lied about interactions and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian-Russian associate, he lied about payments made by an unidentified “Firm A” to a law firm and he gave false statements material to another Justice Department investigation.

“The office of special counsel proved beyond a preponderance of evidence that Mr. Manafort intentionally gave false testimony with respect to that matter which was one of several matters in regards to false statement with regard to Mr. Kilimnik,” the judge noted.

Neither the government nor Manafort’s defense asked for a specific sentence.

Jackson said that while she would not factor in the 47 months Manafort received in his Virginia case, she would take into account his guilty plea, which she said counted as acceptance of responsibility, and his leadership role in the crimes.

“What is happening today is not or can not be a revision of a sentence that is imposed by another court,” she said.

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