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Trump ex-aide Manafort is hardened criminal: Mueller prosecutors

Trump ex-aide Manafort is hardened criminal: Mueller prosecutors

Washington: Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, is a "hardened" criminal who "repeatedly and brazenly violated the law", prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office wrote in a sentencing memo, adding that it continued even after the 2016 presidential election.

The memo, which was filed on Friday, was made public on Saturday with some redactions. The prosecutors asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to make sure the now-jailed 69-year-old may never walk free again, CNN reported.

Manafort pleaded guilty last September to conspiracy against the US and witness tampering. 

At the time of his plea, the former aide also admitted to a litany of money laundering and foreign lobbying crimes that encompassed his work for Ukrainian politicians and other clients over several years.

In the memo the prosecutors said that "Manafort chose repeatedly and knowingly to violate the law" from "garden-variety crimes such as tax fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and bank fraud" to "more esoteric laws" involving foreign lobbying.

He lied, they noted, "to tax preparers, bookkeepers, banks, the Treasury Department, the Department of Justice National Security Division, the FBI, the Special Counsel's Office, the grand jury, his own legal counsel, members of Congress, and members of the executive branch of the US government", The Washington Post reported.

He committed crimes while leading a presidential campaign and while out on bail before trial, and then lied to investigators after pleading guilty, the prosecutors said, revealing "a hardened adherence to committing crimes and lack of remorse".

The charges in both cases flow from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

The prosecutors however, did not reveal on Saturday new information about Manafort's activities in 2016 and later, which they said have become a focus of Mueller's inquiry into Russian influence and the Trump campaign.

The filing helps pave the way for Manafort's sentencings in Washington D.C. and Virginia scheduled for next month, as Mueller begins wrapping up his probe.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan district attorney is also preparing to charge Manafort with violating state tax laws and committing other financial crimes.

Trump has not indicated whether he intends to pardon Manafort, though he repeatedly expressed support for him as his trial played out last year. 


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