Ex-Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort jailed for 47 months over tax and bank fraud

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been sentenced for tax and bank fraud Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians.

Manafort, sitting in a wheelchair as he deals with complications from gout, showed no visible reaction as he heard the 47-month sentence, a significant break from sentencing guidelines that called for a 20-year prison term.

The sentence caps the only jury trial following indictments stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. It was not related to Manafort's role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Before Judge TS Ellis III imposed the sentence, Manafort told him that "saying I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement".

But he offered no explicit apology, something the judge noted before issuing his sentence.

Manafort's lawyers argued that their client had engaged in what amounted to a routine tax evasion case, and cited numerous past sentences in which defendants had hidden millions from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and served less than a year in prison.

Prosecutors said Manafort's conduct was egregious, but the judge ultimately agreed more with defence lawyers.

"These guidelines are quite high," Mr Ellis said.

A jury convicted Manafort on eight counts last year, concluding that he hid from the IRS millions of dollars he earned from his work in Ukraine.

Manafort still faces sentencing in the District of Columbia, where he pleaded guilty in a separate case connected to illegal lobbying.

Outside court, Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, said his client accepted responsibility for his conduct "and there was absolutely no evidence that Mr Manafort was involved in any collusion with the government of Russia".

Prosecutors left the courthouse without making any comment.

A courtroom sketch showing Manafort during his sentencing hearing. Credit: AP

Though Manafort has not faced charges related to collusion, he has been seen as one of the most pivotal figures in the Mueller investigation.

Prosecutors, for instance, have scrutinised his relationship with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate US authorities say is tied to Russian intelligence, and have described a furtive meeting the men had in August 2016 as cutting to the heart of the investigation.

After pleading guilty in the DC case, Manafort met with investigators for more than 50 hours as part of a requirement to cooperate with the probe.

But prosecutors reiterated at Thursday’s hearing that they believe Manafort was evasive and untruthful in his testimony to a grand jury.

Lawyer Kevin Downing following the sentencing of his client. Credit: AP

Manafort was wheeled into the courtroom in a green jumpsuit from the Alexandria jail, where he spent the last several months in solitary confinement.

Prosecutors have said the work in Ukraine was on behalf of politicians who were closely aligned with Russia, though Manafort insisted his work helped those politicians distance themselves from Russia and align with the West.

In arguing for a significant sentence, prosecutor Greg Andres said Manafort still has not accepted responsibility for his misconduct.