Part one of Paul Manafort’s future was served up by judge T.S Ellis last week. In the “are you shitting me” outrage heard round the world, the judge, known for his distaste of the Mueller investigation, decided to give Manafort a 47 month sentence, though the federal sentencing guidelines for all his misdeeds was between 19 and 24 years.
Judge Ellis was overheard saying: “I would have just given him probation, but that might have started riots. After all, these transgressions are just an adult version of stealing Twizzlers from a candy store. Well, maybe in Manafort’s case, a box of Twizzlers.”
Some who know the judge have commented that he often questions federal sentencing guidelines and has at times handed down more lenient sentences.
Unfortunately, Frederick Turner didn’t seem to benefit from such leniency. Here’s what the judge said:
“This situation presents me with something I have no discretion to change and the only thing I can do is express my displeasure,” Ellis said last week as he 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.”
There’s nothing immoral about sending someone to prison for 40 years for selling dealing drugs, right?
Funny how the justice system works for those who are well heeled and those who are not?
After the Manafort sentencing, I read a series of comments by Scott Hechinger, a Brooklyn public defender.
Hechinger was representing a client convicted of stealing $100 worth of quarters who was facing between 36-72 months.
Manafort stole millions of dollars from the government by not paying taxes for the past 5 years. If we calculate Manafort’s sentence in stolen quarters Manafort would be in jail until, well, forever!
Here are a few more of Hechinger’s comments:
“Manafort was sentenced to less than a woman who voted while on probation without knowing she wasn’t allowed to. She was sentenced to 5 years.” Really?
15 years in prison for drug possession. You shouldn’t need more info than that to be outraged. But then learn: Juanita is a mother of 6. Her 18 year old is now head of household. Raising 5 kids. Crime is not even a felony in Oklahoma anymore. pic.twitter.com/nybkR9jHnY
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) March 8, 2019
“16-year-old Kalief Browder was jailed on Riker’s for 3.5 years, pretrial, for allegedly stealing a backpack. Committed suicide when released. City just settled for a paltry $3.3 million. Meanwhile cash bail still exists, Riker’s still open, & 89% jailed there are Black or Latino.”
“My colleague’s client today was forced to plead out to the mandatory minimum of 3.5 years (5 months shy of Manafort) for simple possession of a firearm. No allegation of use. Prosecution wouldn’t drop top count after a hearing. Best they had been willing to do was 2 years.”
If you are not outraged by this lack of comparative justice then you are have lost your moral compass.
The outrageous leniency given to Manafort was bad enough, but when I heard the judge refer to “his otherwise blameless life” I gagged and spit up the food I was eating.
Weren’t you just filled with sympathy for the sociopath who played the frail, sickly man in a wheelchair? OMFG: Another scam by the flim-flam man. (Self-disclosure: For a moment my sadistic fantasy world-oh come on, don’t even pretend that you don’t have one- had me releasing the brake of his wheel chair and pushing him down the hill. Just a fantasy; but then at least he would have reason to be in the wheelchair.)
To appreciate Manafort’s blameless life let’s go back in time to when he and his buddy Roger Stone started their lobbying firm.
In 1980, Manafort opened a lobbying firm with the future Trump adviser Roger Stone and Charles Black. The firm came to specialize in cultivating favors in Washington on behalf of foreign clients with difficult images.
“Black, Manafort and Stone lined up most of the dictators in the world that we could find,” Stone said in a podcast last year. “Pro-western dictators, of course. Dictators are in the eye of the beholder.”
A 1992 Center for Public Integrity report placed the firm atop its rankings of a group it called “the Torturer’s Lobby”.
Over the years, Manafort and Co. made millions by representing a rogue’s gallery of clients far away from D.C.’s genteel corridors of power: dictators, guerilla groups, and despots with no regard for human rights—including one man responsible for mass amputations, and another who oversaw state-sanctioned rape.
Of course Manafort and his cronies denied any wrong- doing. Manafort was actually insulted by the accusation that he and Stone were promoting bad hombres. “We were a niche agency. We worked in emerging markets where no one had gone before. There was a lot of coin to make. Everyone is entitled to image promotion, right? Even murderers and rapists need a good public relations campaign.”
As a kindred spirit in the blameless life category The Don weighed in: “I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man… He’s like a lot of other people, probably makes consultant fees from all over the place, who knows, I don’t know.
Now that’s an endorsement that you can take to the bank.
Let’s hope the next sentencing in the D.C. court this week does away with the less in blameless and changes it to blame-more.
If not, there’s always the wheelchair fantasy to get me through the despair of the wheels of injustice.