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Barbara McQuade On Manafort Sentence: 'He Got A Slap On The Wrist'

"To say he has led an otherwise blameless life is like the old joke of 'Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?' the former prosecutor said.
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Barbara McQuade didn't mince words about Paul Manafort's first sentence.

"I would ask you how you feel about the sentence given because I know how you feel, because there's a quote from you above the fold in the New York Times calling the sentence 'atrociously low and absurd.' Prosecutors said in court said we talked with Paul Manafort for 50 hours, we got nothing of value from him and we know now that he lied to us," Willie Geist said.

"I think this sentence is atrociously low, 47 months out average of 19 to 24 years," McQuade said.

"This is something you see quite a bit in white-collar cases. As Danny said, out of the gate, was expecting a sentence of 10 to 15 years. It is the evidence of two Americas. We see in white collar crime cases where defendants get a huge break on their sentencing guidelines guidelines. They say things just like Paul Manafort said, 'I feel shame, I already feel punished because of the embarrassment I feel among my peers.' Tell that to the indigent defendant who doesn't have prominent people to write letters for him, to vouch for him and all his good works. To say he has led an otherwise blameless life is like the old joke of 'Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?'

"He committed $55 million in fraud over an extensive period of time, failed to pay $6 million in taxes. It's a serious crime and he got a slap on the wrist and for that people should be outraged."

"And anybody who has followed Paul Manafort's career would say he's lived far from a blameless life," Scarborough chimed in.

"This guy has not been a Boy Scout for a very long time. And all you have to do is talk to his colleagues and see what his M.O. has been for the past 30, 40 years. Nobody who knows him would say with a straight face that Paul Manafort has led a blameless life. It's a joke and this judge's sentence of 47 months was a joke. The Washington Post pointed this out, given everything that's happened, Manafort's lying was bizarre as was the statement that his attorney made after the 47-month sentencing was handed down. Let's take a quick look at his lawyer."

KEVIN DOWNING: Mr. Manafort finally got to speak for himself and make sure he accepts responsibility for his conduct. I think most importantly what you saw today was the same thing we had said from day one, there is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved with any collusion with any government official from Russia.

See what the lawyer did there? "Any government official from Russia." Nothing about Putin's right hand man, Konstantin Kilimnik -- who, after all, is not a Russian "government official" -- but he may as well be.

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