Judge ignores 20 year sentencing guideline, gives former Trump chairman Manafort 4 years
On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis sentenced Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, to 47 months in prison for bank fraud.
The former chair was charged with a failure to pay millions in tax and scamming banks and governments. Following federal sentencing guidelines would have put him in prison for 19 to 25 years. Many pundits decried the leniency.
Paul Manafort’s lenient 4-year sentence — far below the recommended 20 years despite extensive felonies and post-conviction obstruction — is a reminder of the blatant inequities in our justice system that we all know about, because they reoccur every week in courts across America
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) March 8, 2019
Other legal experts like public defender Scott Hechinger cited cases in which defendants received harsher sentencing for lesser crimes, highlighting the racial disparities within criminal justice and with white collar crime.
15 years in prison for drug possession. You shouldn’t need more info than that to be outraged. But then learn: Juanita is a mother of 6. Her 18 year old is now head of household. Raising 5 kids. Crime is not even a felony in Oklahoma anymore. pic.twitter.com/nybkR9jHnY
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) March 8, 2019
Hechinger’s tweet refers to Crystal Mason, a Black woman who voted in the 2016 presidential election unaware of the voting prohibition for those with convicted felonies.
While these racial disparities are real, prison abolitionists have noted that anti-Blackness is built into the American justice system, and more prison time for any one person will not rectify these problems. In fact, they argue that expecting prison to represent justice is what perpetuates the problems in the first place.
The former Trump chairman is also expected to be given additional sentences for two other crimes of witness tampering and fraud, to which he had pled guilty.