Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been sinking deeper and deeper into criminal hot water. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has built such strong case with supporting evidence that his federal judge has made some big changes in Manafort’s life.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is based in Alexandria, Virginia, was assigned Robert Mueller’s newly-filed indictment against Manafort, dealing with bank fraud and tax evasion.
Manfaort must wear two separate ankle bracelets, because he has been charged in two separate federal districts. The international political consultant-to-dictators has been limited to GPS tracking.
The judge wrote an order for the terms of Manafort’s “home incarceration.” Ellis indicated that Trump’s former campaign manager posed “a substantial risk of flight,” given his assets and the seriousness of his crimes, POLITICO reported:
‘The defendant is a person of great wealth who has the financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large, as well as every incentive to do so.’
Manafort has a history of leveraging his mortgages to qualify for bank loans up to the point that his actual assets do not meet the $10 million mark. When he joined the Trump campaign, he had $13 million in debt. Regardless, the consultant said that he would work on the campaign for free.
Manafort, who is 68 years old, has homes in Alexandria, VA (his primary residence), Long Island, NY and Florida. The judge will continue his “home incarceration,” but has changed it to a “24-a-day lockdown” in Alexandria, according to POLITICO:
‘Given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.’
The only times he can leave are for medical appointments, emergencies, conference meetings with his attorneys, and court appearances. Should Ellis fails to appear for court, he must pay the court $10 million.
A Washington, D.C. grand jury indicted the political consultant on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent for his Ukrainian consulting and money laundering, in October. Then, an Alexandria VA grand jury indicted the criminal on 18 charges of bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, and tax charges.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, should Manafort be found guilty, he faces up to nearly 20 years in prison in the Washington case. According to prosecutors, he also would face about 10 years on the tax charges alone in the Virginia case.
Mueller let Manafort choose whether he consolidated both cases in Washington. However, the political consultant declined, stating that it was his right to face the new charges in the district where he committed them.
The consultant-to-dictators faces nine bank fraud or bank fraud conspiracy charges in Alexandria. Each carries a maximum of 30 years in prison. It seems, judges generally follow the sentencing guidelines, but they frequently sentence fewer years than the maximum.
Judge Ellis offered to be less restrictive with Manafort, but he must put up enough property to ensure he would show up in court.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected Manafort’s offers, because the value of his property after the mortgages did not equal the $10 million amount she demanded.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Alex Wong