You know your life is in a pretty bad place when you’re sentenced to four years in prison and you consider it a victory. That’s just how bad things are in general for Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort right now. But maybe, after last week, he thinks things are looking up for him. That feeling won’t last long – and Wednesday’s new sentencing hearing is only part of the problem.
We’ll see what Judge Amy Berman Jackson does to Paul Manafort today. She can tack on another as much as ten additional years to his existing four year sentence. At his age, if Manafort ends up with fourteen years in prison, it’s almost certainly a life sentence. But let’s say he gets less than that. Let’s say he only ends up with a total of eight years in prison. Maybe he’s thinking he can get out by his mid-seventies.
Not so much. New York State says it’s bringing a criminal case against Paul Manafort that’s distinct from the two federal cases we’ve all been focused on. Manafort will be in prison while that trial goes on, and if he’s convicted on any or all of the charges, that’ll get tacked onto the end of his existing sentence. So the odds of Manafort ever getting out of prison are going to be small even if he gets off fairly leniently again on Wednesday. From there it gets even worse.
Remember back when Paul Manafort gave up tens of millions of dollars in assets, including his apartment in Trump Tower, as part of his original plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller? He didn’t get any of that back when he broke the deal. Now Mueller is seeking $25 million from him in the criminal case where he didn’t cut a deal. We’ll see if crackpot Judge T.S. Ellis agrees to take even more of Manafort’s money away. But the penalties just keep getting piled on. Manafort caught a lucky break last week, but it was probably for nothing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report