On Thursday evening, Judge T.S. Ellis sentenced former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to a meager 47 months in prison for a laundry list of crimes, including money laundering, tax evasion, and defrauding banks.
Manafort was facing up to 25 years in prison, but for some inexplicable reason Judge Ellis considered the sentencing guidelines to be “excessive” and that except for literally decades of crime, he had lived an otherwise “blameless life.”
That statement is breathtaking in its mendacity and its callous disregard for the lives lost and suffering inflicted by the clients he lobbied for and whose actions he defended in Washington. Manafort spent his entire career serving the whims of murderous right-wing dictators, the lobbying firm he ran with Roger Stone known as the “torturer’s lobby” for its despicable clientele. His children were so disgusted that they routinely referred to their family fortune as “blood money.”
The judge is clearly biased in favor of Manafort, perhaps due to his politics or his role in securing the Trump campaign’s victory in the 2016 election, or perhaps he’s a coward scared of the president’s wrath in a such a high-profile case, because Ellis is not exactly known for his leniency when it comes to sentencing:
FYI in 2018, #JudgeEllis sentenced Frederick Turner, 37, to a mandatory minimum of 40 years in prison for dealing methamphetamine: "I chafe a bit at that, but I follow the law. If I thought it was blatantly immoral, I'd have to resign. It's wrong, but not immoral." #PaulManafort
— Laura Coates (@thelauracoates) March 8, 2019
It is beyond infuriating and is a damning indictment of our justice system to see that a rich white man can flagrantly commit crimes for decades and bootlick for the most despicable people in the world and all he has do is claim that he’s been “praying” and beg for compassion to get a pat on the head and a slap on the wrist.
The reaction from social media was understandably aghast:
I’m angry. When a man who made millions undermining democracy gets a slap on the wrist, it’s hard not to think about the people who built this country, served in its wars, and were treated like common criminals every day of their lives because of the color of their skin.
— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) March 8, 2019
For context on Manafort’s 47 months in prison, my client yesterday was offered 36-72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a residential laundry room.
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort’s lenient 4-year sentence — far below the recommended 20 years despite extensive felonies and post-conviction obstruction — is a reminder of the blatant inequities in our justice system that we all know about, because they reoccur every week in courts across America
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) March 8, 2019
Judge Ellis’s assessment that Manafort led an “otherwise blameless life” was proof that he’s unfit to serve on the federal bench. I’ve rarely been more disgusted by a judge’s transparently preferential treatment to a rich white guy who betrayed the law and the nation.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort is a rich white man who stole millions, tampered witnesses & undermined US democracy. He got 4 years in prison.
Crystal Mason is a black woman who mistakenly cast a ballot in a local election. She got 5 YEARS.
Never tell me there is equal justice in this country. pic.twitter.com/7pHUxny6ig
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) March 8, 2019
Manafort committed fraud—got 47 months.
A man named Fate Vincent Winslow sold $20 of weed to a stranger—got life. https://t.co/fDL7mzFZVp
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort was sentenced to four years. For having a miscarriage (as she maintained) or for inducing her own abortion (as the State of Indiana claimed), Purvi Patel was sentenced to twenty, serving three before her conviction was overturned. https://t.co/KbhN9fJXWV
— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) March 8, 2019
The judge praising Manafort's life, outside of this one thing, as "blameless", makes me feel like I've cheated myself out of a lot of opportunities for evildoing.
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) March 8, 2019