From the start, T.S. Ellis the Federal Judge who would hear evidence against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort seemed agitated and angry that Paul Manafort was even brought in for trial. The Reagan appointee chided Prosecutors that Manafort was only before him because they wanted to get at Donald Trump.
At the time Ellis made those statements many people were aghast that a judge could be that blatantly political.
Ellis was openly hostile to Prosecuting attorneys, repeatedly interrupted them, told them to stop using the word “oligarch” to describe people associated with Manafort because it made him seem “despicable,” and objected to pictures of Manafort’s luxury items they planned to show jurors. “It isn’t a crime to have a lot of money and be profligate in your spending,” Ellis told prosecutors during the trial. (according to yahoo news.com)
If you thought that was beyond weird and despicable, yesterday Judge T.S. Ellis, in sentencing Paul Manafort, pulled the curtains away and displayed the two separate justice systems in America for everyone to see.
The Judge imposed a 47-month prison sentence and a $50,000 fine in conjunction with restitution in the sum of just over $24 million, which Manafort is obligated to repay.
In handing down the rather light sentence which falls way below Federal sentencing guidelines and the potentially 20-years to life Manafort could have been given the Judge commented, “Clearly the guidelines were way out of whack on this.”
“I was surprised I did not hear you express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct,” Ellis told Manafort, nevertheless he gave Paul Manafort a light slap on the wrist.
Most shocking of all, (1) the Judge argued, Manafort “is not before the court for any allegations that he, or anyone at his direction,
That is a tact taken by Manafort’s Lawyers, Trump’s Lawyer Rudolph Guiliani, and Donald Trump himself.
(2) Ellis extolled his(Manafort’s) “otherwise blameless” life in which he “earned the admiration of a number of people” and engaged in “a lot of good things.”
For the record, Paul Manafort will face a DC Judge for similar crimes next week for sentencing.
Maybe next week the Obama appointee, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will not interpret Manafort’s Teflon ability to escape prosecution for his crimes as ” a blameless life.”
Manafort was convicted after prosecutors accused him of hiding from the U.S. government millions of dollars he earned as a consultant for Ukraine’s former pro-Russia government. 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 $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket.
All across America and right there in the Commonwealth of Virginia Black people are being incarcerated for far longer periods of time, for significantly less than what Paul Manafort did.
Not only did Manafort commit numerous white collar crimes,
Which absolutely is his right, but a little fact which lines up with what Judge Ellis was forced to acknowledge, that Paul Manafort had not expressed any regret for engaging in wrongful conduct.
In 2018 43-year old Crystal Mason was sentenced to 5‑years in prison — — -Her crime, not knowing that as a former Felon she was not allowed to vote.
“You have to go vote!” Mason’s mother said, according to her attorney, J. Warren St. John, who spoke to NPR.
Mason grabbed her keys and set out for her local precinct. When she got there, she found out that her name was not on the voter roll so she was given a provisional ballot. An election worker stuck around to walk her through the form.
She used her current license and her current address, St. John says.“She had a good faith belief that she could vote,” St. John says. “She would have never voted if she knew she was not allowed to.“The next time she thought about that night she was being arrested.
Crystal Mason is serving her five-year term for doing her civic duty and was completely ignorant of the fact that she was not allowed to vote.
According to the New York Times African-American defendants get more time behind bars — sometimes twice the prison terms of whites with identical criminal histories — when they commit the same crimes under identical circumstances. It also shows how bias on the part of individual judges and prosecutors drives sentencing inequity.
The Florida Legislature has been wrestling with this issue for decades. In the 1980s, for example, it tried to change sentencing policies that varied widely from place to place by creating sentencing guidelines. Today, prosecutors assign defendants points — based on the seriousness of their crime, the circumstances of their arrest and whether or not they have prior convictions — to determine the minimum sentence required by law.
In a fair system, black and white defendants who score the same number of points under this formula would spend the same time beyond bars. But The Herald-Tribune found that judges disregard the guidelines, sentencing black defendants to longer prison terms in 60 percent of felony cases, 68 percent of serious, first-degree crimes and 45 percent of burglaries. In third-degree felony cases — the least serious and broadest class of felonies — white Florida judges sentenced black defendants to 20 percent more prison time than white defendants. (NYT)