Manafort asks a judge a prison sentence well below the maximum of 10 years


The lawyers of the former president of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, asked Monday a federal judge in Washington to impose a sentence of imprisonment "significantly lower" to the maximum of 10 years set by law.

Manafort, 69, who is expected to be sentenced on March 13, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington last September for conspiracy against the United States – a charge that includes a range of behaviors ranging from money laundering to unregistered lobby on behalf of Ukraine's pro-Russian government – and plot to obstruct justice for attempting to touch witnesses.

He may be sentenced to a maximum of five years for each count, for a legal maximum of 10 years.

"We respectfully ask the Court to impose a sentence much lower than the maximum penalty provided by law in this case," said Manafort's lawyers in filing the complaint Monday night.

"Mr. Manafort has been severely punished, including the confiscation of most of his assets," added the lawyers. "Given his age and his health problems, a significant additional incarceration period will likely equate to a life sentence for a primary offender."

The team's special advocate Robert Mueller said in a document filed on Saturday that Manafort had "repeatedly violated the law," claiming he did not deserve indulgence at the time of sentencing.

Although Mueller did not recommend a specific sentence, he described Manafort as a "hardened" criminal who risked repeating criminal behavior when he was released from prison.

Although Manafort agreed to plead guilty and cooperate, Mueller's team accused Manafort of violating this agreement by repeatedly lying to prosecutors on topics such as his relationship with a trading partner, said he had links with Russian intelligence.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson decided earlier this month that Manafort had breached the contract.

Manafort's lawyers challenged Monday the fact that their client is considered a criminal shameless by prosecutors.

"This case does not involve murders, drug cartels, organized crime, Madoff Ponzi's ploy or the Enron collapse," they wrote.

Mueller is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and on any collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign.

Russia denies attempting to interfere in the elections and Trump said his team was not colluding with Moscow.

In the case filed on Monday, Manafort's lawyers pointed out that their client had not been accused of colluding with Russia.

They also provided the judge with quotes from several witnesses, including Manafort's wife, Kathleen, and her daughter Andrea Shand, who stated that her father was "really a good man" who "deserved to be forgiven".

He does not quote any letter from Manafort's other daughter, Jessica Manafort, who has since legally changed her last name to Bond.

Manafort is to be sentenced on March 8 in another case in Alexandria, Virginia. In that case, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, in which he was convicted of financial crimes last year.

In the case filed on Monday, Manafort's lawyers asked the Washington judge to impose a concurrent sentence when he was sentenced to jail time in both cases.

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