Ex-Watergate lawyer explains why Manafort isn't a 'first-time offender' and should have the book thrown at him
MSNBC legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks (screengrab)

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chair for President Donald Trump, has tried to tell judges that since he's a first-time offender, he should get a lenient sentence. But former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks called the idea ridiculous.


In an MSNBC panel discussion, Wine-Banks said that Manafort's sentencing could change from being consecutive, which would be a big difference.

"This judge is more lenient than the judge in D.C., and the D.C. judge's opinion and decision about how long to sentence may depend on how long he gets in the eastern district of Virginia," she explained.

She went on to note that Manafort is claiming that since this is his first offense, he should get a lighter sentence.

"Well, yeah, maybe so," Wine-Banks said. "It's the first time he got caught, but he could have gotten caught ten years ago. He could have gotten caught five years ago. So, he's not really a first-time, one-time offender. He is a repeat offender right now. He did multiple things knowingly and deliberately and intentionally. I don't think he deserves to get much of a break, particularly when his crimes continued after he got caught -- after he was supposedly cooperating. He continued to lie, which shows a complete disrespect for the law."

She said that it if American law is preserved then those who disrespect the law must be held accountable.

Manafort's sentencing memo revealed that the Trump ally is still hoping to get a pardon from the president.

Watch her commentary below: