That sound you just heard was Paul Manafort’s jaw hitting the ground.
Robert Mueller’s office just released a sentencing memo in Manafort’s case that recommends between 19 and 24 years in prison for the former Trump campaign staffer as well as almost $50 million in fines, restitution, and forfeiture.
Not Looking Good
News of the memo started to circulate on Friday night, and by Saturday morning, social media was abuzz with the harshness of the penalty recommended by Mueller.
NEW: Mueller’s office says Paul Manafort is facing a sentencing range in his Virginia case of 19.5 to 24.4 years in prison — but they aren’t taking a position on what exactly he should get https://t.co/Ebst8xp32k pic.twitter.com/OtPXQmTKzd
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) February 16, 2019
Manafort broke the law, nobody is denying that. However, many believe the sentencing would not be nearly as harsh if Manafort had never been associated with Trump.
There are also more than a few people who believe Mueller wants to see the maximum sentence handed down to Manafort for optics purposes more than for the sake of justice.
Manafort previously negotiated a plea deal that would have had him in prison for far less time and would have forced him to pay far less.
Now, the former campaign staffer may never again see the light of day — and his bank accounts are going to be drained.
Using It Against Trump
Manafort’s sentence will be thrust into the limelight during the 2020 presidential campaign — that we can count on.
Dems will surely regularly announce that Trump had someone working on his campaign who is spending the rest of his life behind bars, and who will have had to hand over roughly $50 million to the government for his crimes.
Even though Manafort’s action had nothing at all to do with Trump, that is not going to matter to today’s media outlets.
They will portray the president as being guilty by association.
And honestly, if Mueller’s recommended sentence is handed down, it would not be a surprise to see Trump at least commute his former staffer’s sentence on his last day in office — however far off that may be.