Republicans warned to 'be careful' and not spin Manafort's sentencing as a victory: Former prosecutor
Paul Manafort (Photo: Screen capture)

During a Thursday interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, a former federal prosecutor, Robert Ray, warned that Republicans should be slow to gloat about Paul Manafort's short sentencing.

Manafort, Trump's former campaign chair, was sentenced to 47 months in prison by Judge T.S. Ellis for committing fraud.

Cuomo said that the political right would try to "spin" the sentencing by saying that it proves that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was overreaching.

"So the political spin is that the right will say, 'we told you this wasn't that big a deal. We told you that Mueller was overreaching.' Do you think that's a fair appraisal of what this sentence means?" Cuomo asked.

"I think you would have to be careful about drawing that conclusion," Ray said. "When I was an independent counsel there were judges in the local jurisdictions who were sensitive to the fact that independent councils have a fair amount of power and can press very hard in the spotlight because of public sentiment shines very harshly."

"I would not wish a special counsel or independent counsel investigation on my worst enemy. It's a terrible place to be. One of the things the judges struggle with is how would I treat this case if it were without that spotlight shining. Would I give the same sentence in that situation that I'm being asked to do so here," he said.

Watch below via CNN: