US President Donald Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort is to be sentenced for tax crimes and bank fraud on Thursday in a high-profile case stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A jury in Alexandria convicted Manafort past year on eight counts of tax and bank fraud related to his overseas work advising politicians in Ukraine.
But he said the sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors calling for between 19.5 and 24 years in prison were excessive.
Ellis said the 47-month sentence was more in line with others who had been convicted on similar crimes.
Regardless of Ellis' decision, Manafort's legal travails are far from over. "I hope you will reflect on that". Even Ellis, at the outset of the case, speculated that prosecutors' true motive in prosecuting Manafort was to pressure him to provide evidence against Trump.
"I know it is my conduct that brought me here", he said, per CNNN.
"The cases that the special counsel have brought against Mr. Manafort have devastated him personally, professionally and financially", they wrote in a March 1 filing.
Manafort, according to CNN, entered the courtroom Thursday in a wheelchair. Still, prosecutors sprinkled tantalizing clues in court filings about Manafort's interactions with an associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, linked by Mueller to a Russian intelligence service. He has been jailed leading up to his sentencing.
Manafort's trial previous year documented his career as an global lobbyist whose profligate spending habits were part of the evidence showing he'd cheated the Internal Revenue Service out of $6 million by hiding $16 million in income.
After pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych's ouster, prosecutors said, Manafort lied to banks to secure loans and maintain an opulent lifestyle with luxurious homes, designer suits and even a $US15,000 ostrich-skin jacket.
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Prosecutors said Manafort's conduct was egregious, but Ellis ultimately agreed more with defense attorneys. Ellis rejected those efforts.
Manafort's ties to Kilimnik unspooled later in a related case against him in Washington, where Manafort pleaded guilty on September 14 to two conspiracy charges and promised to cooperate with prosecutors.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's office filed a new document Tuesday ahead of a sentencing hearing for Manafort later in the week.
Manafort is the only one of the 34 people and three companies charged by Mueller to have gone to trial.
Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos has already served prison time.
The judge has used hearings in Manafort's case previously to inject politics into the proceedings.
The verdict marked a dramatic fall for Manafort, a savvy political operative who advised USA presidents as well as foreign leaders.
Two months later, the special counsel's office accused Manafort of violating this plea deal by "lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters". The revelation could support possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, the issue at the center of Mueller's special counsel investigation. They do not directly address Russia's interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.
Manafort was convicted in August of eight financial crimes in the Virginia case.
FILE - In this December 11, 2017, file photo, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at federal court in Washington.