Today, Federal Judge Amy Berman-Jackson corrected the situation, adding time to be served consecutively and not concurrently, making Manafort’s full prison sentence in total a more appropriate 7 and ½ years—a substantial improvement to Judge Ellis’s miscarriage of justice. And when she pronounced her sentence on Manafort, she pointed out that the charges that were brought against him had nothing whatsoever to do with his alleged conspiracy with agents of the Russian government. Specifically, the judge said that collusion was not at issue in her courtroom, and that any statement made by Manafort or his attorneys declaring “no collusion,” was, in fact, “a non-sequitur.”
Notwithstanding the judge’s definitive statement on the matter, shortly after Judge Berman-Jackson laid down the law, Manafort’s legal counsel went out on the steps outside her courthouse, and lied outright, saying that the judge had issued a ruling of “no collusion.” Apparently, facts only matter when one is inside Judge Berman-Jackson’s courtroom. According to almost all media accounts, this was Manafort’s attorneys’ way of making a play to the president for a pardon.
Happily, the Attorney General of the State of New York had something to say about Manafort’s potential presidential pardon, by indicting him within an hour on 16 counts of fraud related to fraudulent mortgage applications and other criminal acts. These state crimes cannot be pardoned by any president, even one as corrupt as the Orange Monster.
As I also pointed out in Sunday’s blog posting, I believe that Mueller may have a sealed indictment (or perhaps two or three) awaiting Manafort, related to his efforts (and those of many of his associates) of Conspiring Against the United States of America, with Russia and its government. Should this happen, this will probably assure that Manafort remains in prison for the rest of his life.
One way or another, I stand by my belief that Manafort will never again see the light of day and that he will die in prison. If there is any justice left in our nation, Manafort’s fate will play itself out in many other American courtrooms in New York as well as Virginia over the course of the next several years, without benefit or promise of a presidential pardon, all while he sits in a prison of his own making.