After defrauding the United States of millions through his work in Ukraine and on behalf of Russian elites, former campaign chair to President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, received a 47 month prison sentence in one of the two cases brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office.
The sentence—handed down by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III—was a far cry from the 19 to 24 years recommended by the Special Counsel, insisting that Manafort had lived an otherwise "blameless life."
A chorus of voices soon began coming out against the sentence's leniency, criticizing Judge Ellis for believing Manafort led a blameless life, and highlighting the widespread inequities within the United States' Justice System.
Among them was veteran journalist Dan Rather, who said:
“The sentence is just a slap on the wrist to, you know, a big-time criminal...a minor sentence for another elite, well-connected, Washington big-shot. I will say, a lot of black kids in the projects routinely get worse sentences than Manafort has gotten."
Many notable Americans began sharing stories of those who committed far less harmful crimes but—due to an insufficient amount of wealth or whiteness—were handed harsher sentences.
Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, commits bank and tax fraud and gets 47 months. A homeless man, Fate Winslo… https://t.co/d8pp1LBmTa— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1552011599.0
Whistleblower Edward Snowden brought attention to Chelsea Manning, a fellow whistleblower whose sentence for leaking information about war crimes earned her a three decade prison sentence.
#Manafort: 47 months for a lifelong carnival of criminality. Petraeus: 0 days for trading the country's highest sec… https://t.co/QnfndDfulT— Edward Snowden (@Edward Snowden) 1552009339.0
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky agreed.
yup. i had been threatened w/ 27 years for filing a false affidavit + other actions trying desperately to keep an a… https://t.co/f1p7xyXrVb— Monica Lewinsky (@Monica Lewinsky) 1552012211.0
Others pointed out the five years being served by Crystal Mason.
Paul Manafort was just sentenced to less than 4 YEARS for committing multiple felonies, including tax and bank frau… https://t.co/3IoxqWctSg— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1552003966.0
Many Americans joined with them to criticize the sentence.
Paul Manafort getting such little jail time for such serious crimes lays out for the world how it’s almost impossib… https://t.co/jCqC0KRosQ— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1552012975.0
I got grounded for 47 months for talking-back to my mom once. + I got a chancla thrown at me, which I dodged, so it… https://t.co/go1rT7zXXf— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas) 1552015423.0
Good thing Paul Manafort didn’t sell pot (esp while being black). He only ripped our government out of millions, d… https://t.co/IsZaycJS3C— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈) 1552012502.0
One particular phrase used by Judge Ellis while handing down the sentence struck the ire of many.
In elaborating on the leniency of the sentence, Ellis said Manafort had lived an "otherwise blameless life." This—as many pointed out—was far from the truth.
My view on Manafort sentence: Guidelines there for a reason. His crimes took place over years and he led far from a… https://t.co/snEeRLXceg— Amy Klobuchar (@Amy Klobuchar) 1552004109.0
Saying Manafort lived an otherwise blameless life is.....whoooo boy.— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes) 1552002287.0
Judge Ellis’s assessment that Manafort led an “otherwise blameless life” was proof that he’s unfit to serve on the… https://t.co/gtShTeHXee— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe) 1552004206.0
The judge in the Paul Manafort case said, besides committing multiple felonies, he "lived an otherwise blameless li… https://t.co/yGi56FWDAb— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1552002590.0
However, there was one person who was pleased with the verdict.
Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO C… https://t.co/awiZEepZwl— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1552051846.0
Manafort still awaits sentencing next week for separate crimes of obstruction. The case is presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the same judge presiding over longtime Trump associate Roger Stone's case.
Berman Jackson's sentence is expected to be heavier, but rather than relying on her, we should be able to rely on an equal distribution of justice.