After Paul Manafort’s judge handed down a prison sentence for Paul Manafort that is about one fifth the recommended sentence, plenty of pundits and journalists were quick to point out that Manafort still faces sentencing on another case next week, but I couldn’t help but feel discouraged.
Mueller’s team took a lot of time to put together an open and shut case. The evidence was overwhelming, but inexplicably, one Trump-loving juror held out to secure a hung jury on ten of the eighteen charges against him. And, after securing guilty verdicts for eight felony charges, now a judge gives him a tiny sentence and refers to Manafort, a man who repeatedly sold out his country for personal gain, as “otherwise blameless.”
It’s enough to make me ask, when will justice be done? But some information I remembered (with a little help from Rachel Maddow) has renewed my faith in our justice system. First, as I mentioned, Manafort faces sentencing for another case next week and he is expected to receive as much as another ten years in prison for those crimes.
Also, Mueller still retains the right to try Manafort on the ten felony counts that resulted in a hung jury, and now, thanks to his phony cooperation scheme, Mueller has Manafort’s confession to those crimes to add to the mountain of evidence he already had against him. Mueller retained the right to retry Manafort for those charges, and if he ends up with a prison sentence that could result in him ever being released from prison, Mueller is likely to retry Manafort for the ten remaining felonies. Finally, it is possible that Manafort could face charges from not-yet-charged crimes of espionage and conspiracy. With everything still to come, it is unlikely Manafort will ever get out of prison.
Cheryl Kelley lives in the DC area with her husband and young son. She is active in government and politics.