Mar 13, 2018, 4:24 PM ET

Federal judge: Paul Manafort faces 'very real possibility' of spending rest of life in prison


Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison, according to a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, assigned to oversee the case.

Interested in Russia Investigation?

Add Russia Investigation as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Russia Investigation news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

The longtime political lobbyist faces an 18-count indictment in Virginia, which was handed up by a federal grand jury as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III for the Eastern District of Virginia has set strict terms for Manafort's home confinement. In it, the judge writes that it will include "24-hour-a-day lockdown" home incarceration with location monitoring in his Alexandria condo except for medical necessities, meetings with his defense attorneys and court appearances.

Ellis explained that Manafort is "a person of great wealth" and "has the financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large, as well as every incentive to do so" in the order made public on Tuesday.

In this June 21, 2017 photo, Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs Capitol Hill.Saul Loeb/AP
In this June 21, 2017 photo, Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs Capitol Hill.

"Specifically, given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison," wrote Ellis.

"In this regard, [Manafort] poses a substantial risk of flight and the above-mentioned conditions are the least restrictive conditions that will reasonably assume defendant's appearance at trial," Ellis added in the order, which indicates it was originally filed Friday.

While Ellis did not mandate Manafort forfeit any assets, Ellis did order that the defendant agree to and sign a pledge to pay a $10 million unsecured bond if he misses a court appearance.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to the charges -- which include tax and bank fraud -- during his arraignment in Virginia last week.

Late last month, Manafort pleaded not guilty to a separate five-count revised indictment filed by the special counsel team in Washington, D.C., federal court. The judge in that case set Manafort’s trial to begin on Sept. 17.

In late February, Manafort's longtime business partner, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty to a dramatically reduced set of charges in federal court in exchange for his cooperation with Mueller’s probe. As part of Gates’ plea deal, he now faces just two felony counts provided he cooperates fully with the special counsel's investigators.

During Manafort's arraignment in D.C. federal court last month, Judge Amy Berman Jackson cautioned that there could be “overlap” in both cases against him as they head to trial.

News - Federal judge: Paul Manafort faces 'very real possibility' of spending rest of life in prison

RRelated Posts


  • Bud Simpson

    D Trump excerpt from WAPO article on August 30, 2016.

    "I’m going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people," he told our Robert Costa in a phone interview at the time. "We want top of the line professionals."

    Hey Bone Spur, how's that working out?

  • Way2Way

    It's about time.

  • PhatDevil

    Well... There goes those $5,000 suits. Wonder how much an orange jumpsuit costs?

  • Abide Ever

    Is the judge’s pre-trial opinion on the possibility of a life term for the accused judicially proper ?

  • THEFred

    Hilarious watching the Trump Chumps try so desperately to spin this to try to make traitor Manafort the victim here. And the funniest part is, if Manafort flips against Trump, they'll all immediately attack Manafort like a bunch of brain-dead attack dogs.

  • janie126

    Buh Bye Manafort. Take Trump with you please...

  • WorkingClass

    Faced with that kind of sentence, I expect he'll sing like Haldeman and Ehrlichman.

  • Kajsa Williams

    I hope they really throw the book at him. It's time for these shyster-bullies to learn that no one is exempt from the law.

  • TexasVulcan

    Manafort will surely flip on Trump and other cronies for a lighter sentence.

  • Fermer Votre Bouche

    This story reminds me of something once heard at a Trump rally: "Lock him up, lock him up, lock him up".

  • Thomas

    "Ellis explained that Manafort is "a person of great wealth" and "has the financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large, as well as every incentive to do so"

    Then why is Manafort not in pre-trial confinement?

    Or is that only for the common people?

  • Richard

    Prison is exactly where Manafort belongs.

  • rightened

    That's one!

  • crescentfang

    Remember the kid at MIT who committed suicide because the prosecutor threatened to send him to prison for most of his life in order to force him to plead guilty and avoid the expense of a jury trial? This is the same kind of tactic except the objective is to coerce false testimony against the President. Our prosecutors are completely out of control. They deny 95% of the people they send to prison their right to a fair trial using "plea bargaining". The basic technique is to take one, often minor, offense and claim it violates multiple laws to run up the penalty. Remember Martha Stuart? she was completely, legally innocent before she made the mistake of talking to the police without an attorney present and wound up in jail. Today's prosecutors almost make the priests of the inquisition look good.

  • Dick Enya

    I would hope his house is bugged and he's being watched 24 hours a day, but isn't it great what money can do for you no matter how you got it?
    Home detention instead of a jail cell.

  • Peter Warlock

    Is there anyone in the Republican Party who is not a spy for Moscow? It'll take ten prisons to house all the traitors.

  • Center_Line

    Manafort has been laughing about this.A lot.
    I think he should start thinking how much trouble he is actually in.Him,flynn,Jared,Trump Jr.,And Trump himself are in deep ....

  • Bryan Chaides

    Paul Manaforts not going to jail he’s going to squeal like a pig before that ever happens. If there’s no collusion why are these guys being charged with crimes related to Russia? America it’s obvious we’ve been bamboozled by David Dennison and his bigoted brigade. At this point if Chump isn’t brought up on charges and isn’t impeached or quits I will have lost complete faith in this country’s future.

  • Mark Johnson

    I don't understand why someone with a pretty life as this guy, who has millions of dollars why he would want to break the law, and risk his freedom???

  • Francis Mulhare

    Reminds me of "The Good, The Bad , and The Ugly" where Eastwood shoots out the rope tied to Eli Wallachs neck as he is about to be hanged. Manafort is betting that Trump will pardon him at the last minute.I certainly would not take that bet. Pretty much everybody who gets involved with Trump gets screwed if it suits Trumps interest. In my view the key to all of this are the 2018 mid-terms. If there is a "wave" and the Dems take over they will likely impeach Trump on the basis of any credible evidence..of which , I suspect there is a lot. In that scenario Manaforts evidence may not even be that critical..Trump will go down anyway and therefore lose his ability to pardon!!

  • the observer

    Good place for him.

  • BurmeseDude

    Another quality Trump employee. Remember, Trump only hires the very best and yet his people are leaving or being fired in drove from his administration faster than you fill in. I can't imagine if he didn't hire the very best people...

  • petermarks

    Paul Manafort will be pardoned by Trump no matter what sentence he's given. Trump is the only person who can grant a pardon and he'll do it so Trump will get Manafort to donate millions of dollars to the Republican Party, not to Trump as Trump uses his own money to campaign.

  • TerminalSanity

    Just cut a deal and squeal Manafort you know if Trump left Flynn twisting in the wind he's not going to pardon your sorry posterior either. He doesn't stick out his neck for anyone if he thinks it can come back on him(plus you known Mueller has those New York state charges cooking on the backburner anyway even if he did) You're done you can either fall on your sword for a faithless fop who will just back the bus back over you after he shoved you in front of it or you can you shove Trump under the Bus and onto his sword instead and just walk away.

  • RohnertPark1

    If Manafort has a brain he will sing like a canary. No reason for him to take the rap.

  • Krimson

    "Only the best people" - Trump

  • BassPlyr73 Again

    So basically, if there are beans to be spilled on Trump, then Manafort will definitely be dumping the pot.

  • Former Earthling

    Good, Jared and Trump are next.

  • adamrussell

    Gates plead guilty to collusion with Yanukovych and Russia.
    He took their million$, laundered it, and gave it to EU politicians who used it to illegally lobby congress for Russian/Ukraine interests. This is all in the indictment he plead guilty to.

    Then when Yanukovych fell from power, Gates and Manafort went to work for Trump, and Russia also began to secretly work for Trump. Hard to believe they arent connected.

  • molimelight

    He has to wear two ankle bracelets now. I loved the video of him coming out of the Federal Courthouse with the guy yelling at him to "Show us your ankle bracelets," and calling him a traitor.

  • Mr. Logical

    Wow. Hammer is coming down.

  • Tim

    Prison is a good place for the rest of sleazy Paul Manafort's life. This " longtime political lobbyist" deserves nothing any more than that. ALL lobbyists, who pervert the integrity of our political system with their $$ and influence, deserve to spend time in a prison, especially ones as crooked and arrogant as Manafort !

  • Your Worst Nightmare

    If Trump had any honor, he would offer to take some of Manafort's sentence.

    50 years for Manafort and 50 years for Trump. Sounds fair to me.