Paul Manafort just showed up to court looking like a mob boss straight out of The Sopranos


Some people who watched former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort be pushed into a Virginia courtroom in a wheelchair today to learn the details when he will be sentenced for his bank and tax fraud convictions were sympathetic to his physical plight, said by anonymous insiders to be the result of inflammation caused by his prison diet at the Alexandria Detention Center.

Former FBI agent Frank Figliuzzi was not among those feeling sorry for Manafort, who appeared to him to be pulling a trick out of the Junior Soprano playbook for eliciting pity from the judge.

Figliuzzi appeared on MSNBC today and explained what a crucial witness Trump’s former campaign chief was turning out to be for Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia and the obstruction of justice by the administration in trying to impede the inquiry.

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“He’s not only talking specifically about what he knows about Trump and collusion, conspiracy but he’s talking about the Russian infection,” Figliuzzi said. “He’s also critical to the person, I believe, may be the next person we see indicted, which would be Roger Stone,” referring to the Trump campaign advisor who was described by none other than Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) as “Trump’s henchman and dirty trickster.”

Despite Manafort having turned into a cooperating witness once the handwriting was on the wall for his spending the rest of his life in prison, Figliuzzi scornfully discounted his wheelchair-bound state as a ploy to elicit sympathy from the judge as they discussed his sentencing for the crimes for which he has already been found guilty.

“I don’t know anything about his specific health problems today, but I will say this,” he said with a knowing look. “In my 25 year career I was amazed by the crippling and disabling injuries that would befall someone just as they are entering the court to talk about their sentencing.”

With Manafort still providing critical insider testimony about the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia, United States District Judge T.S. Ellis III set his sentencing for a few months further into the future, on February 8th, but warned that he would not delay the sentencing indefinitely simply because Manafort is a cooperating witness.

Perhaps someone in Manafort’s youth should have better prepared him for the consequences of committing illegal acts. Didn’t someone ever tell him that “if you can’t stand the time, don’t do the crime?” Maybe he did hear it, and it was just one of those sayings that don’t resonate until they suddenly become personally relevant.


You can watch former FBI agent Frank Figliuzzi’s appearance on MSNBC in the video clip below.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Brendan Skwire on RawStory and by Sharon LaFraniere at The New York Times.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.