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Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign manager who was sentenced to three years in prison for financial crimes, has been released from prison due to health concerns relating to the coronavirus.
The Associated Press reported that Manafort was released to home confinement due to his age – he’s 71 – and prior health conditions, which made him vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Manafort was hospitalized in December for a heart-related condition, the AP reported.
The AP, however, ignored the real reason Manafort was in prison in the first place, connecting his conviction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. The closest the AP came to admitting Manafort’s conviction had nothing to do with Russian collusion was a single sentence which read, “New York prosecutors have accused him of giving false information on a mortgage loan application.”
Instead, the AP repeatedly tied Manafort’s conviction to the Mueller investigation.
“Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s onetime presidential campaign chairman who was convicted as part of the special counsel’s Russia investigation, has been released from federal prison to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement due to concerns about the coronavirus, his lawyer said Wednesday,” read the articles lede.
The article then refers to his “conviction” without noting that it was for financial crimes that occurred before he was a member of Trump’s 2016 campaign and included defrauding banks and the government, as well as tax evasion.
Here’s the lengths to which the AP ignored the real reason behind Manafort’s conviction:
Manafort was among the first people to be charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which examined possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election campaign.
Manafort, who was prosecuted in two federal courts, was convicted by a jury in federal court in Virginia in 2018 and later pleaded guilty in Washington. He was sentenced last March and was immediately hit with state charges in New York that could put him outside the president’s power to pardon. New York prosecutors have accused him of giving false information on a mortgage loan application.
Usually, news outlets report what crimes warranted the convictions. Manafort was charged with the financial crimes (he was accused of failing to pay millions of dollars of taxes on money he made overseas) as well as violations of foreign lobbying lies and tampering with a witness during Mueller’s investigation. He pleaded guilty to the tampering and foreign lobbying violations.
These aren’t mentioned in the AP report.
While Manafort was released, another former Trump associate who was charged during the Mueller investigation, Michael Cohen, had his release from prison rescinded. Cohen was set to finish his sentence on home confinement, but that was denied at the last minute. Cohen pleaded guilty to numerous charges including violating campaign finance violations during his work for Trump’s 206 campaign and obstructing Congress’ investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election (a special counsel investigation found no collusion).
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