Paul Manafort could live out his days in prison
The evidence against President Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort is so strong it could land him behind bars for the rest of his life, according to a federal judge’s order made public Tuesday.
US District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who sits in Alexandria, Virginia, and who is handling the second indictment charging Manafort with bank fraud and tax evasion, said the former Trump ally posed “a substantial risk of flight” because of his heaps of cash and the seriousness of his legal woes, 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,” Ellis wrote in an order that spelled out the terms of his “home incarceration.”
Manafort, 68, lives in Alexandria but also has homes in Florida and on Long Island.
“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,” wrote Ellis, a Reagan appointee.
The order puts Manafort in a “24-hour-a-day lockdown” at his Alexandria home, except for medical appointments or emergencies, court appearances and sit-downs with his defense attorneys, the site reported.
Special counsel Robert Mueller obtained a grand jury indictment of Manafort in October, charging him with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for work he did for a pro-Vladimir Putin party in Ukraine.
In February, Mueller got a second indictment of Manafort on 18 tax, bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy charges.
If convicted, Manafort faces up to nearly 20 years in prison in the Washington case and up to 10 years on the tax charges in the Virginia case.
Mueller’s team is investigating Russia’s meddling in the US election on behalf of the Trump campaign and whether there was collusion with the president’s campaign.
The president has repeatedly denied that there was any collusion with Russia.