Trump’s ex-campaign chief jailed for nearly 4 years

A US court on Thursday sentenced President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison for financial crimes, media reports say.

The sentence upset his prosecutors who had sought 19-24 years jail term for him.

The crimes related to tax evasion on millions of dollars in fees he had received from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. He also defrauded banks by getting loans when his Ukrainian income stopped.

The court ordered Manafort to pay $25 million in restitution and a $50,000 fine. The time he has spent in prison since he was convicted in August by a jury will count towards his sentence. This means he would be released in just over three years.

During the hearing, Manafort did not apologise to Judge TS Ellis of the District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, for his crimes.

He now faces sentencing in another case related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The second sentencing hearing will take place next week in a federal court in Washington, where he had pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and witness tampering. Those charges each carry a maximum of five years.

Manafort became the subject of interest for investigators after it became known that he attended a meeting with Russians in 2016 in Trump Tower to discuss the “dirt” on Trump’s political rival, Hillary Clinton.

His lawyers have sought a lenient sentence by drawing attention to his lack of criminal record, age (69), failing health and cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller.

But Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mueller only to avoid a second criminal trial on the other charges.

Trump has the authority to pardon.