Judge: Manafort Faces 'Very Real Possibility' of Life in Prison

14 March, 2018, 05:28 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Judge: Manafort Faces 'Very Real Possibility' of Life in Prison

Politico reports that a new ruling by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III that was made public on Tuesday reveals that the judge believes Manafort is a significant risk to try to escape custody because the weight of evidence against him appears to be so strong.

TS Ellis III, the federal judge presiding over Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that Manafort "is a person of great wealth who has the financial means and global connections to flee and remain at large as well as every incentive to do so".

Ellis, who is based in federal court in Alexandria at the Eastern District of Virginia, has been assigned Manafort's latest indictment brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Under terms of his release in Virginia, Manafort is ordered to wear a second Global Positioning System tracking bracelet, in addition to the one he wears as a condition of his pre-trial release in Washington.

Last October, a grand jury in Washington, acting at the request of Mueller's team, returned an indictment charging Manafort with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent in connection with his work for Ukraine.

Each of the nine bank fraud or bank fraud conspiracy charges he faces in the Alexandria court carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison, although judges generally follow the guidelines, which typically call for sentences well below the maximum.

The Virginia judge's order Tuesday specified he should not drink excessively or use drugs that aren't prescribed to him, and that he's effectively on a "24-hour-a-day lock-down".

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He is subject to house incarceration and a $10 million bond, per the order.

Manafort, the well-known political operative with a long history of work in Republican circles, is also facing charges at U.S. District Court in Washington. He faces eighteen counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and bank fraud conspiracy at a federal trial court in Alexandria, Va., and twelve counts of money laundering, conspiracy against the United States, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) at the federal trial court in Washington, D.C.

Manafort is set to go to trial in Virginia on July 10, and in Washington on September 17.

Former Manafort associate Rick Gates pleaded guilty to charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month.

Manafort faces a maximum of 305 years in prison if found guilty on all charges in Virginia. "I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence".

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News.

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