by WorldTribune Staff, March 14, 2019
Paul Manafort’s conviction and sentence on dealings unrelated to Russian collusion is a “travesty” brought about in large part by the “media mob,” a former defense attorney for President Donald Trump charged.
John Dowd, in an interview with The Washington Times, noted that special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed with a prime objective of finding collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Manafort was convicted of crooked business, loan and tax dealings unrelated to Russia, Dowd said. A federal judge on March 13 sentenced Manafort to three and a half years, which will be added to a four-year term he received last week in a related prosecution in Alexandria, Virginia.
Manafort’s defense attorney, Kevin Downing, had pointed out that none of the crimes Manafort was charged with by the special counsel’s office was related to Russian collusion.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, nominated for her post by President Barack Obama, expressed frustration at Downing for making that point.
“The ‘no collusion’ refrain that runs through the entire defense memorandum is unrelated to matters at hand,” Judge Jackson said, according to Vox.com. “The ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non-sequitur.”
Dowd disagreed, saying the Mueller team had repeatedly implied that Manafort was linked to Moscow misdeeds by alleging that his office manager in Ukraine, Constantin Kilimnik, was Russian intelligence.
Dowd said Mueller never presented evidence to prove the link, but that the major news media repeated the charge. Downing argued that Kilimnik was a State Department asset in Kiev.
“Of course it was about collusion,” Dowd told the Washington Times. “Special counsel said it was, while hiding the fact that Kilimnik was an asset of our State Department, and claiming a Russian connection. That was the fraud. The sentence was the cruel product of hysterical overreach and exaggerated self-justification for the terrible waste of time and energy. The media mob rules!”
Downing also blasted the judge after sentencing.
“I think the judge showed that she is incredibly hostile toward Mr. Manafort and exhibited a level of callousness that I’ve not seen in a white-collar case in over 15 years of practice,” he said, according to The Associated Press.