The reaction of legal observers and members of Congress to the extraordinarily lenient 47-month sentence, against the recommendations of federal prosecutors and delivered to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, one of the most corrupt human beings ever to be born of human skin, for his crimes… has been marked.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California responded to the light sentence with irony, saying on “All In With Chris Hayes,” “I think I spent more days in detention in high school than Judge Ellis thinks that Paul Manafort should spend in jail for what he did to defraud the United States.”
As ably compiled by Dennis Romero of NBC News, some took note of the grotesque disparity in sentencing administered by the Reagan-appointed Judge Thomas Selby (”T.S.”) Ellis and those sentences involving people of a different social “class”.
Other observers highlighted the seeming incongruence between punishments for white-collar crime like Manafort’s and street crime, particularly administered against people of color.
The reactions also include those familiar with such crimes and the sentences they would expect to be laid down in such circumstances, as compared to considerably lesser offenses.
Brooklyn Defender Services in New York, which provides legal services to low-income people, Scott Hechinger posted a series of tweets, such as one saying, “My client yesterday was offered 36-72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters.”
Some commented on how the perversion of the Judiciary was made manifest by this particular Federal Judge.
One takeaway from Manafort’s sentence should be that that the administration of justice in this country is really dependent on Judges who do their job—and those who don’t.
“Even for this judge — who is known as an arbitrary and capricious sentenced and prone to downward departures in white collar case — this is a totally crazy and exorbitant departure,” tweeted former federal prosecutor Harry Litman.
Perhaps the most amazing historical remembrance from this fiasco will be Judge Ellis’ remarks during Manafort’s sentencing when he opined on the sentence that had been suggested by the prosecution.
Prior to announcing his decision, Judge T.S. Ellis called that range “excessive,” and said Manafort “has lived an otherwise blameless life.”