Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a scathing takedown of President Donald Trump’s “no collusion mantra” as she sentenced his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to prison.
Manafort received a surprisingly light four-year sentence last week from Judge T.S. Ellis III on fraud charges, but Jackson imposed an additional 43 months — for a total of 90 months, or seven and a half years.
Jackson laid into Manafort, who had begged for mercy, saying that he had already learned his lesson, but she pointed out that he had been accused of committing crimes while jailed on previous charges.
“The defendant’s insistence that none of this should be happening to him and that the prosecution is misguided is just one more thing that is inconsistent with the notion of any genuine acceptance of responsibility,” she said. “It would be hard to overstate the number of [Manafort’s] lies and the extent of the fraud.”
The judge blasted Manafort for his greed, saying he’d risked his freedom and reputation for the trappings of wealth.
“Why?” she asked. “Not to support a family but to sustain a lifestyle at the most opulent and extravagant level. More houses than one man can enjoy, more suits than one man can wear.”
Jackson also pointed out that Manafort had shown no remorse for the actions that had landed him in prison.
“Saying I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency,” Jackson said.
Jackson hit Manafort’s attorneys for feeding the president’s narrative, saying that prosecutors had not addressed the issue of collusion in this case, and said that was still under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“The ‘no collusion’ refrain that runs through the entire defense memorandum is unrelated to matters at hand,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to understand why an attorney would write that … The ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non sequitur.”
The judge then issued what could be taken as a warning to anyone still facing potential charges related to the special counsel probe.
“Court is one of those places where facts still matter,” Jackson said.