Manafort’s Statement at His Sentencing, and Judge’s Response

(Bloomberg) -- Paul Manafort read a statement from a wheelchair Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, before he was sentenced to almost four years in prison for bank and tax fraud.

He said:

The last two years have been the most difficult that my family and I have ever experienced. The person that I am or that I have been described as in public is not someone I recognize. To say that I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement of this characterization.

But the worse pain that I feel is the pain that I know my family is feeling. My whole life I have been proud -- I’ve been most proud of being the protector and their role model, and it pains me deeply that I have caused them this suffering by the actions that have happened confront me here today.

What has been uplifting to me, I should say, however, is the outpouring of support and affection that I have received not just from my family and friends but from total strangers. The support and the incredible power of their prayers is what has sustained me through these terrible times.

Having been separated from my family over the last nine years -- nine months has been very hard. At a time when I planned to be spending quality time giving back to my family, I’ve had to rely upon them as my -- for support to get me through this situation. I truly feel the bonds of their love and have been strengthened by it.

In the midst of this pain, I must tell you, Your Honor, that I appreciate the fairness of the trial that you have conducted. I know this has not been easy given the media frenzy atmosphere surrounding the trial. I know how it affects me, and I know the kind of pressures it put on the Court, and I truly do appreciate the fact that at least from my perspective, I feel that you’ve bent over backwards to make this to be a fair proceeding.

I could tell you that I feel the punishment from these proceedings already and know that it was my conduct that brought me here. Nine months of solitary confinement after seven months of home arrest have given me -- has affected my physical and mental health. My life professionally and financially is in shambles, and I feel the pain and shame of these factors.

I say all of this to let the Court know that I will never put myself in questionable circumstances in the future. Sitting in solitary confinement, I’ve had much time to reflect upon my life and my choices and the importance of family and friends. This reflection has created my intent to turn my notoriety into a positive and show the world who I know I really am and who is not who I’ve been depicted to be.

With the power of prayer and God’s guiding hand, I know that my family and I will grow stronger from this ordeal, and I recognize and acknowledge that it is an ordeal that I am
responsible for.

Again, I want to thank you for the fair trial. Your wisdom and management of this courtroom has given me hope for the judicial system, and I am ready for your decision, and I ask your compassion.

In response, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said Manafort should have expressed remorse about his crimes. He referred to Manafort’s scheduled sentencing on March 13 in Washington:

Manafort’s Statement at His Sentencing, and Judge’s Response

I listened carefully to your allocution, and I don’t have any doubt that what you said was genuine, but I was surprised that I did not hear you express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct. In other words, you didn’t say, I really, really regret not doing what I knew the law required.

Now, that doesn’t make any difference to the judgment that I’m about to make, Mr. Manafort, that you didn’t say that, but I hope you will reflect on that and that your regret will be that you didn’t comply with the law. That should be your true regret, and you should have remorse for that, and I certainly recommend that you do it in the District of Columbia, because you’ll have that opportunity.

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