Paul Manafort

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Re: Paul Manafort

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:17 am

Twitter fun

Judge Ellis to Al Capone: “Except for a few accounting errors, you’ve lived an otherwise blameless life.”

Nuremberg Trial 1946- Presiding Judge (Ellis): "So Herr Goering, despite you being the only high ranking Nazi actually brought to trial, & despite your lack of contrition, I find the court's recommendation of death excessive, especially given your heretofore "blameless life". "

Judge Ellis to Ted Bundy: "Except for a few abductions, you've lived an otherwise blameless life."

Correction to Judge Ellis on Manafort: "Except for those OTHER crimes pending sentencing NEXT week... you've lived an otherwise blameless life"


Winner was arrested on June 3, 2017 shortly after The Intercept published an article describing Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election by hacking a U.S. voting software supplier and sending spear-phishing E-mails to more than 100 local election officials just days before the November election.

My Daughter Reality Winner Faced Severe Punishment, but Key Figures in the Trump-Russia Scandal Are Getting Off Easy

Billie Winner-Davis
December 23 2018, 6:45 a.m.
Billie Winner-Davis, mother of Reality Winner, carries a sign in support of her daughter outside the Lincoln County Law Enforcement Center in Lincolnton, Ga., Sunday evening June 3, 2018. Winner-Davis and other supporters gathered outside the jail a year after Reality Winner's arrest. Winner worked for the national security contractor Pluribus International at Fort Gordon in Georgia when she was charged last June with mailing a classified U.S. report to an unidentified news organization. (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP) Billie Winner-Davis, mother of Reality Winner, carries a sign in support of her daughter outside the Lincoln County Law Enforcement Center in Lincolnton, Ga., on June 3, 2018. Photo: Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle/AP
LET ME INTRODUCE myself. I am the mother of Reality Leigh Winner, a 27-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran who is in prison for leaking a document with proof of Russian election hacking efforts. I am writing now because I am outraged: While my daughter languishes in prison, those actually responsible for threatening our election continue to get off easy.

My daughter was sentenced to five years in prison for releasing a single document from the National Security Agency with proof of a threat to our voting system, when no one else would give the public the truth. She was widely reported to be the source for a June 2016 article in The Intercept on an NSA report detailing phishing attacks by Russian military intelligence on local U.S. election officials. (The Intercept has said it received the document anonymously.)

Her conviction wrongly portrayed her as a traitor and spy. To give the public proof of a threat to our nation, Reality violated her contract and nondisclosure agreement (she worked for a company that performed work for the NSA), and may have violated the law. She did so at a time when Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election was being hidden and downplayed.

Those who actually played roles in the malfeasance surrounding the Trump campaign and transition do not appear to be paying near the price that Reality Winner is.
She certainly should be held accountable for her actions, and she is. But other figures in the news today — those who actually played roles in the malfeasance surrounding the Trump campaign and transition — do not appear to be paying near the price that she and our family are paying.

Reality was just 25 years old when she was charged with the unlawful disclosure of national defense information, a charge under the Espionage Act of 1917. She was denied bond by the judge, as her distinguished military experience, service to her community, and intelligence was used against her. The government painted her as a Taliban sympathizer and a threat to the U.S., even though her service and medal of commendation directly contradicted this. The government, arguing that she was a flight risk, used her savings of $30,000 against her. They used her one and only trip out of the country, a trip to Belize to honor her deceased father, against her. They used her language skills — taught to her during and used for her military service — against her. They used her social media posts and a single doodled joke, in one of her many journals, against her.

Even though the prosecution made false statements to keep her jailed — saying that she had multiple classified documents in her possession — the judge accepted their apologies and still kept her locked away in deplorable conditions. She was deprived of contact with her family and friends, she was deprived of an adequate diet and nutrition, her mental health needs were ignored by the system, she was assaulted and injured, and deprived of fresh air and sunlight and basic needs. The government knew what to do to break her and they did.

In June 2018, Reality pleaded guilty to the one charge against her, in a deal that resulted in the longest-ever sentence imposed for a crime along these lines. Although Reality’s legal team did their best to build a defense for her, the court ruled against them at every turn, and the threat of 10 years in prison and hefty fines if she didn’t prevail at trial became too much to battle against.

Despite having a spotless record, distinguished military service, documented volunteerism, and service to her community, the government’s sentencing memo again portrayed Reality as an enemy of the country. On August 23, 2018, the court sentenced Reality to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In a press release, U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine stated that resolving the case with this plea agreement was the best resolution, as a trial may risk the further disclosure of classified information. He said that the sentence imposed on Reality “promotes respect for the law and affords deterrence to similar criminal conduct in the future” — using Reality as the example. He referred to her as a “quintessential example of an insider threat.”

Billie-and-Re-_655x498_bigger-1545260811 Billie Winner-Davis with her daughter, Reality Winner. Photo: Courtesy of Billie Winner-Davis
REALITY’S CASE, TREATMENT, and sentence are more than enough to stoke my outrage, but every day, I become angrier and more frustrated with the news. The facts of the entire investigation into Russian election interference — a saga of greed — are heartbreaking. It is maddening to watch my daughter in prison as the so-called justice system interacts in such drastically different ways with Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen.

First, Manafort and Gates. In February 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed down 32 indictments on these two men, to include conspiracy and numerous tax evasion crimes. Gate’s fate is not yet known, but we do know that he has not spent time languishing in a jail or prison after he was charged, unlike Reality, who is now on day TKTK behind bars.

Then Manafort. Despite having the financial means, connections, multiple passports, and experience traveling to other countries — at levels that far exceeded Reality’s — Manafort was allowed to remain out of jail on bond. Manafort’s bond was revoked only when he was accused of tampering with witnesses, and even then he seemed to be getting preferential treatment — until a judge transferred him to a “real” jail. Manafort was convicted of eight crimes and then entered into a plea agreement in another case. That plea was later revoked, after he was accused of lying to prosecutors.

Last year, on December 18, 2017, as the court allowed Manafort to travel to the Hamptons to celebrate Christmas, our family celebrated that Reality had been given fresh fruit, a gift from a local church, and the very first fresh anything since her arrest on June 3, 2017.

Next comes Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI concerning his contacts, during the presidential campaign, with people he believed had connections to the Russian government. He was sentenced to a total of 14 days in prison — and even then tried to get this sentence postponed before spending a mere 12 days incarcerated. What I wouldn’t give to even have Reality released after 12 months.

On to Flynn’s case. A retired Army general, revered and entrusted due to his experience and rank, and put in charge of our national security, Flynn lied about work he did on behalf of the Turkish government, as well as his backchannel communications with the Russian government prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration. He worked for Turkey to try to send a legal U.S. resident, a dissident Turkish preacher, back to Turkey, knowing that this would place the preacher in danger. And Flynn communicated with the Russian government about sanctions placed on them for interfering in the U.S. elections. This Army general should have been facing some very serious charges and consequences, but what is he charged with? Not conspiracy, not espionage — but lying to FBI agents. And, if that does not cause one to gasp, the government is not seeking any prison time! Just this week, Flynn was dressed down by a judge who expressed his “disgust” for the former general’s conduct — but there’s little indication that he’ll receive a hefty sentence.

While I realize that the crime of lying to the FBI may not automatically qualify one for a prison sentence, my outrage on Flynn’s case centers more on what he was not charged with. I would have thought that someone of his rank and position within our government, someone who lied about the lucrative work he had done for one foreign government and contacts with another, would be held to a much higher standard than a 25-year-old veteran airman. Reality is described as an “insider threat” — one who “plainly abused her position of trust” — yet Flynn’s sentencing memos and recommendations paint him in a much better light, resulting in requests for extreme leniency that the judge found so hard to swallow.

Reality Winner, charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news outlet, walks into the Federal Courthouse in Augusta, Ga., Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP) Reality Winner, charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news outlet, walks into the Federal Courthouse in Augusta, Ga., on June 26, 2018. Photo: Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle/AP
Michael Cohen is next. Cohen acted on behalf of Trump’s presidential campaign and also as his personal lawyer. He arranged what prosecutors said were illegal payments to two women alleged to have had affairs and sexual encounters with Trump. This was done during the campaign to hush the women as their stories were sure to bring negative attention to then-candidate Trump — which also made the payment a violation of federal laws relating to campaign finance.

Cohen was also charged with other crimes — nine total — to include tax evasion and lying to Congress. He pleaded guilty to all those charges and was sentenced to a total of three years in prison with three years’ supervised released. He will not have to surrender himself to begin his prison term until March. It’s difficult to conclude anything other than that Cohen lined his pockets and betrayed our democracy for selfish reasons.

Last, but perhaps not least, in this unfolding tale is Maria Butina, a Russian operative who was arrested for conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States. Though she was not charged as part of the Trump-Russia probe, Butina inserted herself into the National Rifle Association and ran in the top circles of power in U.S. politics. She was said to be facilitating backchannel communications between our leaders and Russia. Butina, at this time, was actively working against the United States.

Last week, she pleaded guilty to a crime of working as a foreign agent in the U.S. She was not charged with and will not be convicted of espionage. Let that sink in. My daughter Reality, who blew the whistle on Russian efforts to attack our election, is the traitor, the one guilty of espionage — but not a Russian agent and those working with her.

I totally understand the need for prosecutors to work with defendants to secure cooperation; incentives are certainly necessary. However, when you consider what this means for those without power or position, like Reality, it is also unjust. Treating Reality as an insider threat and using her and her sentence as a deterrent for others, yet allowing the likes of Cohen, Flynn, Gates, and Butina off easy for much more serious offenses undermines our entire system. It sends the clear message that if you are poor and powerless in this system, you will be abused.

I am outraged. I hope you are too.

The Intercept’s parent company First Look Media Works has contributed to Reality Winner’s legal defense. ... mp-russia/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Paul Manafort

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:33 pm

Must read

$19 million. Nineteen million. Manafort lies three times to the Feds about instructions to Fabrizio, the Trump campaign pollster interviewed by Mueller and now subpoena'd by HJD for any foreign interactions.

A smocking gun.

Wendy Siegelman

Tracking down $125K payment handled by Laurance Gay, head of Rebuilding America Now PAC made from Multi Media Services Corp owned by pollster Tony Fabrizio to Paul Manafort's lawyers, @christinawilkie found 3 more payments totaling $800K made 10 days prior

A mysterious payment to Manafort's lawyer reveals a hidden chapter of Trump's 2016 campaign

Recent court filings are shedding new light on a mysterious $125,000 payment to lawyers for Paul Manafort, paid by a firm that has not been identified until now.

The firm is called Multi Media Services Corporation, and its silent owner is Tony Fabrizio, a longtime Manafort associate and the chief pollster on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

The route this money traveled, from its origin as a donation made to a pro-Trump political group, to its final destination in the bank account of Manafort's attorney, offers a window into relationships Manafort built over decades.

Christina Wilkie

Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Recent court filings from special counsel Robert Mueller shed new light on a mysterious payment to lawyers for Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

The payment, for $125,000, was made in June 2017, halfway through Trump's first year in office. But it wasn't disclosed publicly until late last year, when prosecutors accused Manafort of repeatedly lying to them about where the money actually came from. Manafort was convicted in 2018 of tax evasion and bank fraud, and sentenced in Virginia on Thursday to 47 months in prison. He faces another sentencing next week in Washington, D.C.

In the world of presidential campaign fundraising, where millions of dollars are often raised and spent in a matter of weeks, $125,000 can seem like a drop in the bucket.

But the route this money traveled, from its origin as a donation made to a pro-Trump political group, to its final destination in the bank account of Manafort's attorney, offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of relationships Manafort built over 40 years in Republican politics.

These relationships have drawn fresh scrutiny in recent weeks. Both Manafort and another key figure in this story, Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, were among 81 individuals and entities that received formal document requests on Monday from the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating a broad range of potential presidential misdeeds.

The path taken by this $125,000 also highlights the ways that Manafort took advantage of the Trump campaign's underdeveloped leadership structure to install his allies in top positions across the Trump political landscape.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the murky, loosely regulated world of super PACs and other political "dark money" groups, which are permitted to raise unlimited amounts of money from donors as long as they don't "coordinate" directly with campaigns, a legal standard that leaves plenty of room for interpretation. In this world, Manafort's longtime associates could hold key positions, and oversee the raising and spending of huge sums of money, often with little to no direct oversight.

One of these positions was leading a pro-Trump super PAC that Manafort helped to establish in June 2016 called Rebuilding America Now.

To run the group, Manafort tapped an old friend, Connecticut-based lobbyist Laurance "Laury" Gay. A former official in President Ronald Reagan's administration, Gay went on to work at Manafort's lobbying firm in the late 1980s. He is also the godfather to one of Manafort's daughters.

With Manafort's blessing and Gay at its helm, Rebuilding America Now raised more than $24 million between June and December 2016, more than any other pro-Trump super PAC did during the entire election.

Paul Manafort, Campaign Manager for Donald Trump, speaks on the phone while touring the floor of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena as final preparations continue July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Getty Images

Paul Manafort, Campaign Manager for Donald Trump, speaks on the phone while touring the floor of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena as final preparations continue July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to the transcript from a Feb. 4 hearing in Manafort's trial, prosecutors believe that in 2017, Rebuilding America Now under Gay's leadership also played a central role in what they describe as a "scheme" to provide Manafort with "a way of getting cash" out of his time as the unpaid chairman of Trump's 2016 campaign.

The payment

Manafort's decision to take a volunteer job at the top of Trump's presidential campaign drew national attention to his lobbying career. By the summer of 2017, Manafort was the target of multiple investigations into his personal finances, campaign work and foreign lobbying.

Faced with mounting legal bills, Manafort reached out to Gay in June of that year and asked him to arrange a $125,000 payment to Manafort's lawyers, according to both prosecutors and Manafort's defense attorneys. Rather than give Manafort the money himself, however, Gay called someone else.

"At the request of Paul Manafort, Laury [Gay] asked that funds be forwarded to an entity designated by Mr. Manafort to assist with his legal expenses," said Anthony J. Iacullo, a criminal defense attorney who represents Gay, in a recent interview with The New York Times.

It's not clear why Manafort asked for this specific amount. In an emailed response to CNBC, Iacullo said Gay "has not been charged with any wrongdoing nor has he done anything that violates any federal or state laws." He added that "out of an abundance of caution and respect for the process itself, we decline to comment any further at this time."

CNBC attempted to reach Gay several times, but the phone at Gay's Canaan, Connecticut-based consulting firm, Business Strategies & Insight, had been disconnected.

In order to get the $125,000, Gay reached out to someone else, whose name is redacted in court filings. Prosecutors described the person as having "a long relationship" with Manafort. Manafort's defense attorneys said the person had "been a vendor on all these campaigns [Manafort has] used in the past."

Crucially, in a January court filing the special counsel also noted that this person ran a firm that had been paid "approximately $19 million" by the super PAC that Gay was running in 2016.

There is only one firm that received anything near $19 million from Rebuilding America Now. And reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that this firm received almost exactly $19 million, leaving little doubt about which firm it was that prosecutors were referring to.

It is a political ad-buying firm called Multi Media Services Corporation, or MMSC, based in Alexandria, Virginia.

At first glance, MMSC appears to be a small, two-man shop with no obvious ties to Manafort or anyone else with whom Manafort has "a long relationship." Moreover, there are no signs that either of the principals at MMSC was ever "a vendor on all these campaigns [Manafort has] used in the past," which is how Manafort's lawyers described the person who ran this firm.

But there is more to MMSC than meets the eye. Interviews and corporate records unearthed by CNBC have revealed that MMSC has a silent owner: Tony Fabrizio, a longtime Manafort associate and the chief pollster on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Fabrizio's dual role as: a) the owner of MMSC, which was the biggest vendor to the top pro-Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, and b) the Trump campaign's lead pollster, has not been reported until now.

As for the source of the $125,000, CNBC has also uncovered a compelling detail buried in one of the hundreds of exhibits that Mueller's prosecutors have entered into the record in the case against Manafort in Washington.

This one appears to be a bank transfer record of the payment itself.

Under the heading "Debit Information" there is a line on the transfer record that reads "Account: MMSC SECONDARY - *7107* - Checking - $132,087.56."

Again, MMSC is the acronym for Multi Media Services Corporation. Two political operatives who spoke to CNBC referred to the firm by its acronym.

CNBC tried repeatedly over several weeks to reach Fabrizio, but he did not respond to emails or phone messages left for him.

To be clear, at no point in any publicly available filings does Mueller suggest that Fabrizio or MMSC committed any crimes. On the contrary, details that appear to have been provided by Fabrizio are cited frequently as evidence of Manafort's alleged misdeed: lying to prosecutors about the source of the $125,000.

Manafort's lawyers deny that he lied. They told the court that he was merely confused or misremembered during each of the three interviews where he told the government three different stories about where the money came from.

Legal experts also told CNBC that there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with what Fabrizio appears to have done, namely, use money from a firm he controls to make a payment on someone else's behalf.

In addition to Fabrizio, Manafort and Gay, CNBC also reached out to former Rebuilding America Now political director Ken McKay, former general counsel Cleta Mitchell and finance director Christina Culver. None responded to emailed questions about the group or about their work for it.

The connection between Fabrizio, Manafort and the money sent to Manafort's lawyers from MMSC is only the latest chapter in a relationship between the two men that dates back more than 20 years.

Fabrizio's role

In 1996, Fabrizio and Manafort worked together on the failed presidential campaign of former Kansas Republican Sen. Bob Dole. Then, as in 2016, Manafort was initially brought on board to manage the delegates at the 1996 Republican National Convention, while Fabrizio worked as the Dole campaign's pollster.

Since then, Fabrizio has also done work for some of Manafort's most controversial clients. In 2012 and 2013, foreign lobbying records show that Manafort paid Fabrizio $278,000 for work Fabrizio did to help Manafort's political clients in Ukraine.

Fabrizio's role in Manafort's Ukrainian lobbying wasn't revealed until a year after Trump was elected, however, when Manafort was required to file a foreign agent registration form with the Justice Department. On it, he listed five separate payments to Fabrizio, as well as payments to various other subcontractors.

Three years after they worked together on the Ukraine job, Manafort hired Fabrizio again, in May 2016, this time to work for the Trump presidential campaign.

At the time, Fabrizio's hiring was greeted with fanfare in Republican circles, where it was viewed as a sign that Trump's chaotic, bare-bones primary operation was maturing into a national presidential campaign, one capable of taking on the massive machine backing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, the fact that Trump had hired a pollster at all was newsworthy, coming, as it did, after months of the candidate insisting that political pollsters were a waste of money.

"One of Paul Manafort's best decisions was hiring Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio to determine how to beat Hillary Clinton," wrote Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Manafort's, Trump's and Fabrizio's, in his 2017 book, "The Making of a President."

"In the end, it was the pugnacious and bulldog-like Fabrizio who insisted that the Trump campaign had to expand the map into Wisconsin and Michigan, while doubling down on Pennsylvania," Stone wrote.

Stone was arrested earlier this year on charges that included lying to Congress about his contacts in 2016 with Wikileaks, which published thousands of emails allegedly stolen from the Clinton campaign by Russian state hackers. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. The charges against Stone are unrelated to the Manafort prosecution, nor do they have anything to do with Fabrizio or Gay.

Two weeks after Manafort hired Fabrizio to poll for the campaign, Manafort and longtime Trump ally Tom Barrack set up the Rebuilding America Now super PAC so they could raise millions at a time from wealthy GOP donors to help Trump, who was reportedly growing tired of spending his own money to fund his campaign.

Five days after Rebuilding America Now was formed on June 2, campaign finance records show that it made its first payment to MMSC, Fabrizio's ad-buying firm, for a $1 million ad buy. According to prosecutors, Rebuilding America Now hired MMSC "at Manafort's suggestion."

The rapid succession of these hirings — first Manafort to chair the campaign, then Fabrizio to poll for the campaign, then Gay to run Rebuilding America Now, then Fabrizio's ad-buying firm to buy the airtime for Rebuilding America Now — offer a striking example of how Manafort turned his unpaid role on the Trump campaign into an opportunity to secure lucrative work for his longtime associates.

In hindsight, however, this work appears to have come at a high cost to those who did it.

On March 4, Fabrizio was one of more than 80 members of Trump's extended political and professional orbits to receive a formal letter from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. In it, Nadler wrote that the committee is investigating "allegations of obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power" by Trump and those around him.

According to the letter, the documents Nadler's committee is seeking from Fabrizio include anything related to "discussions or attempts to provide or receive election information, campaign data, or campaign communications with, to, or from foreign entities or individuals in connection with the 2016 U.S. Presidential primary or general elections."

The letter goes on to say: "this includes, but is not limited to, voter data, polling information, political ad targeting, voter registration rolls, social media data, and campaign or party e-mails."

The special counsel's interest in hearing from Fabrizio predates the Judiciary Committee's letter by more than a year, however. In early February 2018, Fabrizio was seen by CNN leaving the special counsel's office in Washington. The network later confirmed that he had been meeting with members of Mueller's team.

Tony Fabrizio
Gage Skidmore

Tony Fabrizio

More recently, court filings in the Manafort case also repeatedly mentioned another interview with an individual who appeared to be Fabrizio, this one conducted on Nov. 6, 2018.

Prosecutors said this individual provided accurate details about the $125,000 payment and how it was arranged, that they were later able to corroborate with text messages and bank records.

The individual also described a financial relationship between MMSC and Rebuilding America Now that was more complicated than it initially appeared in the campaign finance reports that the super PAC submitted to the FEC.

Unusually high commission rates

According to the account of the individual who appears to be Fabrizio, Rebuilding America Now agreed to pay Fabrizio's firm a surprisingly high commission rate, 6 percent, on its media buys during Trump's 2016 campaign.

The reason for this above-average rate, the person said to prosecutors, was that "half the commission was to be provided to" the head of Rebuilding America Now, in this case, Gay. They also said the commission split "was not reflected in the written contract" between MMSC and Rebuilding America Now.

This wasn't the first time that questions had come up about the commission rates Rebuilding America Now was paying for its ad buys.

During the 2016 presidential race, potential donors to the PAC also reportedly questioned the rates, along with other elements of Rebuilding America Now's spending.

"The main question is where the money is going," an attendee at a Rebuilding America Now fundraising meeting during the Republican National Convention told CNN in the summer of 2016. During that meeting, specific questions were also raised "about the super PAC's commission rates," the attendee said.

Commission rates on political ad buys are particularly difficult to track, because campaigns and groups like Rebuilding America Now are not required to report them separately from the money they spend to air the ads themselves.

So, for example, if a super PAC reported an expense of $20 million paid to an ad-buying firm, it would be impossible to tell how much of that money went to the firm as commissions, and how much of it was actually spent to buy airtime.

But "if Gay and Rebuilding America Now knew that 3 percent of all commissions paid to Multi Media Services Corporation would be routed back to Gay, those transactions should have been reported to the FEC as payments to Gay" and not merely as commissions to MMSC, said Brendan Fischer, director of the federal reform program at the nonprofit watchdog group The Campaign Legal Center.

Federal campaign finance law requires that PACs, like political campaigns, accurately report their expenditures to the FEC.

"If a payment is made to one vendor with the intention that it be directed to another person or subvendor, and that recipient isn't disclosed, then the committee has violated the law" by failing to disclose their expenditures accurately, Fischer said.

Gay's attorney declined to respond to questions about the commission split from CNBC, as did Fabrizio.

But the alleged existence of a secret commission split wasn't the only thing about the relationship between MMSC and Rebuilding America Now that experts said raises questions about where donors' money was actually ending up.

Unusual reimbursements

In May 2017, six months after Trump had won the presidency and Rebuilding America Now had stopped buying ads on TV, campaign finance records show that Fabrizio's ad-buying firm, MMSC, made three large cash transfers to Rebuilding America Now.

The first was on May 27, for $150,000, according to campaign finance records, which detail all these payments and their dates, sources, amounts and recipients. Three weeks later, on June 15, MMSC again transferred money to its former client, only this time it was a much larger amount: $625,000. The very next day, June 16, it transferred $25,000 to Rebuilding America Now, for a total of $800,000 from the ad-buying firm to the super PAC in a little under a month.

And not just any month. This was the month leading up to the mysterious $125,000 payment to Paul Manafort's attorneys. That payment, from the account labeled MMSC - Secondary, occurred on June 26, precisely 10 days after the third and last payment from the firm to the PAC.

Republican nominee Donald Trump and Campaign Manager Paul Manafort do a walk thru at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Brooks Kraft | Getty Images

Republican nominee Donald Trump and Campaign Manager Paul Manafort do a walk thru at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Records show that Rebuilding America Now reported the $800,000 it received in May and June as media reimbursements. This helps to explain why the money does not appear to have raised any red flags so far with the FEC, even though several other aspects of the PAC's finances have prompted the FEC to formally request additional information or corrections.

Ad-buying firms frequently reimburse clients after elections for any money that doesn't ultimately get spent by the firm on ads. This payment is called a reconciliation, and it's usually made as soon as possible, and it's precise down to the dollar, said Barbara Kittridge, the founder of Motive LLC, a political media-buying and strategy firm in Washington.

"January is what we media buyers call 'audit season,' where we go back through all our ad contracts from the previous year and carefully match the money that was paid with the actual ads that were run. If there's any money that wasn't spent, it's returned to the client right away," she said.

"Typically, ad-buying contracts require that reconciliations be paid somewhere between 15 and 45 days after the end of either the campaign or the calendar year. Six months is some of the longest I've ever seen for a repayment," Kittridge said.

"It's also odd to see even numbers" like $150,000 and $25,000 in ad reconciliations, she added. "Depending upon the channel that you're purchasing ads on, it's not typical that your costs are that even."

Interestingly, several months before MMSC returned exactly $800,000 to Gay's super PAC in the summer of 2017, campaign filings show that the firm made a different reimbursement payment to Rebuilding America Now, one that Kittridge said looked much more like a typical ad reconciliation than the later amounts did.

On Feb. 10, 2017, five weeks after the end of the fourth quarter, MMSC transferred $347,505 back to its client, Rebuilding America Now. Campaign legal experts said the transfer matches what media reconciliations typically look like, because it happened quickly and it was for a very precise amount.

"This reimbursement would be more normative, from both a timing perspective and from an amount perspective," said Kittridge.

Yet the same qualities that make the February payment appear run-of-the-mill, experts said, are what make the May and June payments look so unusual.

"Six months after the election, with big round numbers, are definitely more suspect," Kittridge said.

"I have never seen such large reimbursement payments coming so long after the election for which the ads were created. It strains credulity well beyond the breaking point to believe that these payments are reimbursement for unaired general election ads," said a campaign finance lawyer who has been practicing before the FEC for 30 years, and who requested anonymity to discuss an issue that could come before the commission.

CNBC attempted to reach Fabrizio, as well as MMSC's president, Dwight Sterling, and its media director, Neal McDonald, for several weeks to ask them about these unusual reimbursements. None responded to phone messages or emails.

Yet one thing is clear from the PAC's financial reports: In the year that followed these three unusual cash transfers from Fabrizio's firm to Rebuilding America Now, no one took home more of that money from the PAC, in consulting fees and expenses, than Laurance Gay.

Gay's role

Gay first entered Trump's orbit in April 2016 as a high-level campaign volunteer, one of several lobbyists Manafort recruited to help him professionalize the Trump campaign as it became increasingly likely Trump would be the Republican nominee. But Gay and Manafort's professional relationship dates back to long before there was ever a Trump campaign.

In the 1980s, Gay worked with Manafort and Stone at their lobbying firm, Black, Stone, Manafort & Kelly. Gay is also reportedly the godfather to one of Manafort's daughters.

During the 2016 campaign, Gay touted his personal and professional relationship with Manafort as one of the major assets Rebuilding America Now had that other pro-Trump super PACs did not.

"The advantage that we bring, without compromising any of the boundaries, is we know how Manafort thinks. I've done over 40 campaigns with Paul," Gay told Politico in the summer of 2016.

For Gay, his relationship with Manafort would also prove to be extremely lucrative. Between June 2016 and June 2018, Gay collected just over $1 million in consulting fees from Rebuilding America Now.

More than three-quarters of that, a total of $775,000, was paid to Gay after 2016, and after Rebuilding America Now had shed staff and stopped running TV ads for Trump.

During that same two-year period, Gay collected another $254,000 in travel reimbursements from the super PAC. Again, the majority of this money, $149,164.03, came after 2016 was over.

Added together, the expenses and fees that Gay took home from Rebuilding America Now in the 18 months after 2016 equaled $924,164.03. This is very close to the combined total of $925,000 that was paid to the super PAC and Manafort's lawyers ($800,000 to the PAC plus $125,000 to Manafort's lawyers) by Fabrizio's firm, MMSC, in May and June 2017.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (R) arrives at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse for an arraignment hearing as a protester holds up a sign March 8, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia.
Getty Images

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (R) arrives at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse for an arraignment hearing as a protester holds up a sign March 8, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia.

In June 2018, Rebuilding America Now's travel expenses caught the attention of the FEC. In a letter to Rebuilding America Now's treasurer, Ryan Call, the FEC asked him to explain the $42,286 the group had paid to Gay for "Travel" during the first three months of 2018. The FEC gave the group until Aug. 2, 2018, to reply, but so far it has not responded to the request.

By this point, more than a year after Trump was elected, Rebuilding America Now appeared to be operating as little more than a meme-posting operation on Facebook and Twitter, trying to engage Trump supporters with "Like if you agree!" style posts.

Facebook ad records show that in the spring and summer of 2018, Rebuilding America Now ran a series of ads on Facebook. They asked viewers to "Like" posts if, for instance, they "think Hillary [Clinton] should be behind bars," and "think CNN sucks."

Yet despite spending money to buy Facebook ads, to pay Gay $35,000 a month and to pay other consultants and lawyers, Rebuilding America Now effectively stopped raising any money after the 2016 election, and only spent money.

Between June 2017, when the PAC received the last of the three unusual transfers from MMSC, to October 2018, when Palm Beach real estate developer Llwyd Ecclestone gave the group $25,000, campaign finance records show that Gay did not raise any money at all.

Ecclestone's gift came long after the PAC had effectively gone dormant. He did not respond to an email from CNBC on Friday asking what prompted him to donate $25,000 to the group more than two years after he had last given it any money and months after Rebuilding America Now had stopped doing anything more than posting photos online.

Now, it barely even does that. Rebuilding America Now's Twitter account posted its last tweet on Oct. 10, 2018. And the PAC's website was taken down sometime in the fall, although it is difficult to tell precisely when.

As of March 6, the Rebuilding America Now Facebook page was still active, however, and it linked to the nonexistent website. CNBC sent a message to the Facebook page but has received no response.

While the name of Rebuilding America Now may have faded from the pro-Trump political landscape, Gay's name has re-emerged in the news in recent weeks. This time it is in connection with a different pro-Trump entity that is currently under investigation: Trump's presidential inaugural committee, or PIC.

Bloomberg News recently identified Gay as having been in charge of the ticketing operation for Trump's inaugural events. This appeared to be the first time Gay had been identified by name as having had an official role in Trump's inauguration.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Getty Images

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

"Gay didn't have any known experience managing invitations, according to three people familiar with his role," Bloomberg reported.

Prosecutors in both New York and New Jersey have reportedly opened preliminary investigations into Trump's inaugural committee, including whether foreign nationals who attended inaugural events made prohibited donations to the committee by using "straw man" donors to hide their participation.

Gay was not the only member of Manafort's inner circle working on core elements of Trump's inauguration. Manafort's longtime right-hand man, Rick Gates, was the deputy chairman of the inaugural committee, working directly under Barrack, the inaugural committee's billionaire chairman.

The revelation that Gay was working alongside Gates at the inaugural committee serves as yet another example of how far Manafort's reach into the Trump campaign continued to extend, months after Manafort himself had been fired from the campaign in August.

Gates was indicted in late 2017 along with Manafort, and charged with failing to disclose foreign lobbying and tax evasion. He has since pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to the FBI, and he has cooperated with prosecutors and testified against Manafort in court.

Gay's attorney declined to comment in response to questions from CNBC about Gay's work for the inaugural committee.

Political Reporter for ... paign.html

Highlights in this thread

Christina Wilkie

NEW: My investigation into the $125,000 paid to Manafort's lawyers that Manafort allegedly lied about. Until now, source of $$ had been identified only as Firm A.

We report Firm A is Va. based Multi Media Services Corp, owned by GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio

Fabrizio's ad buying firm, MMSC, was paid $19 million plus by the top Trump Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now. Look at this unredacted account name on the transfer record of the $125,000 payment. "MMSC Secondary - 7107 - Checking." That MMSC would be Multi Media Services Corp.

Tony Fabrizio's dual role as: a) the owner of MMSC, which was the biggest vendor by far to the top pro-Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, and b) his job as the Trump campaign's lead pollster, has not been reported until now.

According to court transcripts and Mueller case filings, Fabrizio appears to have told Mueller that in order to get his firm, MMSC hired as the ad buyer for Rebuilding America Now, he had to agree to secretly split the commission with Laurance Gay, a longtime Manafort associate.

Rebuilding America Now paid Fabrizio's firm MMSC unusually high commission rates on ad buys, so high that PAC donors actually questioned them in 2016. Now we know why: Fabrizio and Laurance Gay had a secret commission split arrangement: 6% rate was paid to MMSC, and Gay got 3%.

Another strange set of events. In May 2017, long after the election, MMSC, Fabrizio's firm, made three large cash transfers to Rebuilding America Now.
May 27 for $150,000
June 15 for $625,000
June 16 for $25,000
And then 10 days later, MMSC paid Manafort's lawyers $125,000.

The cash transfers were reported to the FEC as reimbursements for ad money not spent. But political ad buyers told me this is not what reimbursements look like. Typically they're very precise amounts, paid out right after an election. Not a flat sum of $800K paid 6 months later.

Another strange confluence: After the 2016 election, Rebuilding America Now essentially went dormant. But Laurance Gay continued to collect $35K a month plus huge travel expenses for another year and a half.

Gay's total fees and expenses AFTER the election total $924,164.03.

Gay's total, $924,164 is very close to the $925,000 combined total that Fabrizio's firm MMSC transferred to Rebuilding America Now and Manafort's lawyers in May and June 2017. ($800,000 in "reimbursements" to the PAC plus $125,000 to Manafort's lawyers = $925K). Very close.

Rebuilding America Now all but disappeared last fall. Its last Tweet was posted on Oct 10 2018. This was 10 days after Manafort told his 2nd alleged lie about the $125,000. Its website was removed sometime last fall. A Facebook page still links to the nonexistent website. /END

In January 2018 before the $125K payment to Manafort's lawyers was highlighted by Mueller - @brendan_fischer reported Rebuilding America Now PAC was refunded $1.1 million by vendor Multi Media Services Corp

In Jan '18 @brendan_fischer reported Rebuilding America Now PAC was refunded $1.1 million by vendor Multi Media Services Corp, which had been paid $20.2 mil by the PAC - so Multi Media earned approx. $19 million - the amount noted in today's Mueller filing

And @mrspanstreppon found in January that Fabrizio was one of the principles of First Media Services (dba Multi Media Services)

Here's a related interesting find by @mrspanstreppon - one of the principles of First Media Services (dba Multi Media Services) is Anthony M. Fabrizio - the pollster and former Manafort associate that Mueller has sought information from

Haven't been able to spend time on the series of tubz lately but did notice the NYT remains averse to linking Tom Barrack to Paul Manafort. Not a word about TB founding Rebuilding America Now....

Of the $23m raised by Rebuilding America Now, $21.4m came from a handful of donors. For some reason, Linda McMahon staggered her contribution over the month of Aug '16.

In '17, First Services dba Multi Media Services refunded $1.1 million to Rebuilding America Now which helped pay Gay's salary & other assorted vendors thru June '18....

Image ... 0882060288
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Re: Paul Manafort

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:40 am


So that's 43 months additional time on top of the EDVA sentence, for a total of 90 months, or 7.5 years. He gets credit for time served, will get good-time credit of up to 15%, and may get additional credit under the new and untested First Step Act.


It must kill Trump that a girl is doing this to his beloved Paulie.

The full sentence in EDVA is 47 months, so the math is:

17 (non consecutive balance from EDVA)
60 (total on DC FARA charges)
13 (witness tampering)

Judge ABJ highlighting Manafort's obstruction, witness tampering, lying, and that he was doing this to cover up for others.

Now do state crimes/charges.

Manafort has been lying to Mueller since day one...he gave polling data to a Russian

Zoe Tillman

Hello on this brisk morning from the federal courthouse in DC, where Paul Manafort is due at 9:30am for his second and final sentencing. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. On how things went at his first sentencing last week in Virginia: ... ller-probe

This Reuters cameraman staked out outside complained that I left him out of my courthouse picture today, so here he is (v. proud of his gear)

We're about 1.5 hours out from Manafort's sentencing, and so far I count 23 people waiting to get into the courtroom. The court has clearly marked the line parameters with ropes, a welcome change of scene from the *anarchy* of EDVA

(I'll be in the media room, not the courtroom, where we'll have a live video feed and can live-tweet)

We're 30 minutes out and the line outside the courtroom is at 60+ people (more joining every minute)

Manafort's lawyers are congregating in a hallway downstairs from the courtroom (just saw them as I was heading back to the media room.) The government lawyers and FBI agents have been gathering upstairs

We're 10 minutes out from Manafort's 9:30am sentencing hearing. The lawyers are getting settled in the courtroom, sipping water, milling around and greeting each other

Paul Manafort has entered the courtroom, he is wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and what appears to be a purple tie (the video feed isn't crystal clear). He's in a wheelchair, as he was for his Virginia sentencing

He was in a jail uniform for his Virginia sentencing, but the judge in DC issued an order in January saying Manafort would be allowed to wear a suit for future court appearances (his lawyers had made the request)

And we're off: US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has taken the bench for Paul Manafort's sentencing hearing in DC

Jackson says there are two legal disputes re: the presentence report — whether Manafort should get credit for acceptance of responsibility, and whether there should be an enhancement for having a leadership role in the offense

Jackson notes the letters she received from Manafort's family and friends: "I appreciate all the letters and I've read them all."

Jackson makes clear that Manafort is not being sentenced today for the crimes he was convicted of, and sentenced for, last week in Virginia: This is not a "review or revision" of a sentence imposed by another court, she says

Important: Jackson notes that if a defendant already has been sentenced to prison for relevant conduct, the sentence now must be concurrent. So that applies to the tax and failure to report foreign bank account counts he was sentenced for in EDVA, but not the bank fraud

This means the sentence she imposes for the first count, which is a conspiracy charge which encompasses some of the crimes he was convicted of and sentenced for in EDVA, will have to account for the EDVA sentence in terms of how much of it runs concurrent (i.e. at the same time)

This issue re: what must run concurrent also doesn't apply to the second count Manafort pleaded guilty to in DC, conspiracy to interfere with witnesses. Each of the two counts he's being sentenced for today carries a maximum sentence of 10 years (5 years each)

Jackson rules that the enhancement for a leadership role should apply to Manafort: There were clearly more than five people involved, which is the standard (Gates, Kilimnik, people in PR/lobbying/law firm, etc.), and they don't all have to have criminal intent, the judge says

We're now on acceptance of responsibility. Jackson first addresses Manafort's motion to reconsider her finding that he lied about his interactions with Kilimnik, given Rick Gates later correcting his testimony. Jackson denied the motion, saying the record still shows he lied

Manafort's lawyer Tom Zehnle is arguing that Manafort did accept responsibility for the charged conduct, and that the lies the judge found he told based on the special counsel's evidence weren't related to the charges, but rather the special counsel's broader investigation

Zehnle notes that the judge did not find that the special counsel proved Manafort intentionally made false statements about Kilimnik's role in the witness tampering conspiracy, which was the only category that did directly relate to the charges in the case

Special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann says there is case law outside of DC that says courts can consider conduct outside of the charged crimes in considering the acceptance of resp. issue, although there isn't case law out of DC

Jackson says that Manafort will get guidelines credit for acceptance of responsibility — she agrees with the govt that the court can look at conduct outside of the charged offense, but she says the underlying conduct is the "driving factor," and Manafort had admitted that

However, the judge says that there's also the broader question of whether Manafort accepted responsibility that is separate from the guidelines calculation, and she'll consider that later

Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing asks Jackson to consider that the superseding information references the bank fraud, re: her consideration of what needs to run concurrent to the EDVA sentence. Jackson says bank fraud isn't encompassed in the fraud conspiracy count he pleaded to

Re: financial issues — Weissmann says the government is not arguing that a separate fine for Manafort is necessary. Manafort's lawyer Richard Westling says that they oppose the govt's request for an $11M money judgment

We're now on arguments from the lawyers about what sentence Manafort should get. Weissmann is up first: "We're here today because of crimes Paul Manafort committed for over a decade."

Re: the argument by Manafort's lawyers that Manafort has supported family and friends financially, Weissmann says: "That in other circumstances would be truly admirable, it is less so when it is done with other people’s money."

Weissmann stresses the importance of the Foreign Agents Regis. Act, saying the public and elected officials need to know what foreign govts are lobbying the US to do: "That law got in the way of Mr. Manafort. Secrecy was integral to what Mr. Manafort wanted to do for Ukraine."

Weissmann, re: witness tampering: "That is not reflective of somebody who has learned a harsh lesson. It is not a reflection of remorse, it is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass, that somebody in that position would choose to make that decision."

Re: the witness tampering conspiracy, Weissmann says that it's a crime that goes to the "heart" of the justice system, and notes that Manafort tried to interfere with witnesses while he was already the subject of a prosecution

Weissmann calls Manaforts violation of FARA "egregious," saying Manafort not only failed to report his work for Ukraine, but he had other companies involved conceal their role, created a sham group to serve as a "fig leaf," and then filed an "false and incomplete" report in 2017

Re: the witness tampering conspiracy, Weissmann says that it's a crime that goes to the "heart" of the justice system, and notes that Manafort tried to interfere with witnesses while he was already the subject of a prosecution

Weissmann, re: witness tampering: "That is not reflective of somebody who has learned a harsh lesson. It is not a reflection of remorse, it is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass, that somebody in that position would choose to make that decision."

Weissmann: "At each juncture, thought, Mr. Manafort chose to take a different path. He engaged in crime again and again, he has not learned a harsh lesson. He served to undermine, not promote, American ideals of honesty, transparency, and playing by the rules."

Weissmann finishes and does not ask for a specific sentence, in keeping with the pre-hearing sentencing memo from the government

Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing is up. He begins by trying to distinguish Manafort's failure to register as an agent for Ukraine with other FARA cases by saying that Manafort's work for Ukraine wasn't a total secret, he was in touch with the State Department

Downing and Jackson are going back and forth re: Manafort being told he needed to file a FARA report early in 2017 — Downing says the FARA office has said its priority is to get people to file, not bring crim charges (though he acknowledges that's not an impediment to charges)

Downing says that when Manafort was questioned by the FBI a few years before the Mueller probe stepped in about his work for Ukraine, he identified some of his foreign bank accounts. The judge asks how many he did *not* identify. Downing says he doesn't know

Downing refers to the "political motivation" around the case. Jackson jumps in, asking what exactly he means by that. Downing says it was not directed at the prosecutors, but rather the general "media frenzy" around Manafort's case

Downing says the media attention has resulted in a "very harsh process" for Manafort, and he asks Jackson to take that into consideration. Downing: "But for a short stint as a campaign manager in a presidential election, I don't think we'd be here today," he says

Downing is done, he also does not advocate for a specific sentence for Manafort

Manafort atty Richard Westling briefly argues the guidelines are too high b/c of how the FARA violations interact w/ the money laundering. Jackson asks, weren't the guidelines also high in EDVA, where money laundering wasn't a factor, b/c of the amount of $ at issue? He says yes

After Tom Zehnle briefly addresses the witness tampering, noting the "gradations" in that kind of criminal activity, Paul Manafort is up now

Manafort says that he was perhaps not as clear about what was in his heart when he addressed the judge in Virginia: "I am sorry for what I've done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today."

Manafort says he's upset at the pain he's caused his family, and has "already begun to changje": "I stand here today to assure the court that I'm a different person from the one who came before you in October of 2017."

Manafort remained seated while he addressed the judge. This was more of an apology than what we saw in Virginia last week, and Manafort at the beginning addressed that issue, since the judge in Virginia expressed surprise he didn't hear more of that from Manafort

Jackson begins by saying the briefing and arguments have been marked by "passion" and "hyperbole": "This defendant is not public enemy number one. But he’s not a victim either."

Manafort has been seated for the hearing in a wheelchair, but he stood up when Jackson came back

Judge Jackson is back on the bench for Paul Manafort's sentencing following a short recess, after hearing from Manafort, his lawyers, and the government

Manafort has been seated for the hearing in a wheelchair, but he stood up when Jackson came back

Jackson begins by saying the briefing and arguments have been marked by "passion" and "hyperbole": "This defendant is not public enemy number one. But he’s not a victim either."

Jackson says that notwithstanding inferences in the briefing, the question of whether or not there was a conspiracy or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is not before the court, "period."

Jackson: The case will not be an "indictment" or an "endorsement" of the special counsel, "nor does it fall to me to pass judgment on Paul Manafort as a human being"

Jackson says it would be "hard to overstate" the number of lies and the extent of the fraud, "and there is no good expalantion that would warrant the leniency requested"

Jackson: Why did Manafort do it? To sustain a lifestyle at the "most opulent and extravagant" level, the judge said — many houses for one family, and "more suits than one man can wear"

Re: Manafort's failure to report his work for Ukraine to the US government, Jackson says there was a deliberate effort to obscure his work and hide the truth. "If the people don't have the facts, democracy can’t work."

Jackson said it seemed that Manafort was trying to downplay what he did in reaching out to witnesses, and that gave her concern about his acceptance of responsibility

Re: witness tampering, Jackson says: "He pled guilty to conspiring to corruptly persuade another person — two people — with the intent to influence their testimony in an official proceeding. And which official proceding? This one. The case against Mr. Manafort himself."

Jackson: The back and forth early on about Manafort's assets and whether he could post enough to be free pending trial appeared to reflect Manafort's "contempt for and his belief he had the right to manipulate these proceedings" and that court orders and rules didn't apply to him

Re: Manafort's cooperation, Jackson said while he did sit for sessions and provide information: "But the problem is that the defendant’s own conduct makes it difficult to assess the value of the information that he did provide.”

The judge acknowledged the letters from Manafort's family, and said that it was unfortunately true that incarceration can tear apart a family — but she said that's true for everyone, and "this is a family that has the means to sustain itself in the interim."

Jackson said she appreciated Manafort's comments today, but found it "striking" he chose not to write something to her in advance of sentencing, which she said many defendants have done, incl. those who haven't finished high school or who don't speak English as a first language

Remorse was "completely absent" from Manafort's sentencing submissions, the judge said, and she disapprovingly noted the effort to argue that it was only because the special counsel got involved that Manafort faced criminal charges

The judge slams Manafort and his lawyers for making the "unsubstantiated" claim that Manafort was only charged by Mueller's office because they couldn't charge him with anything related to the campaign. "The noncollusion mantra is simply a non sequitor"

Jackson: "The defendant's insistence that none of this should be happening to him… that the prosecution is misguided and excessive and invalid ... is just one more thing that is inconsistent with a genuine acceptance of responsibilty."

Jackson noted that both she and Ellis found that the charges against Manafort did fall within the special counsel's jurisdiction

She criticized Manafort's lawyers for making unsupported arguments that other defendants in the Mueller probe got shorter sentences because the judges in those cases recognized they weren't about Mueller's core mandate: "It’s hard to understand why an attorney would write that."

Jackson: "Mr. Manafort, I don’t want to belititle or minimize the discomfort of prison for you. It is hard on everyone, young and old, rich and poor."

The judge says Manafort overstated the severity of his pretrial confinement: "At bottom, the defendant was not in the SHU." She notes he had a window, access to radio/newspapers/TV, and was released for a little time each day. He was in protective custody for his safety, she said

Jackson says 30 months of her sentence must be concurrent with the EDVA sentence, because the tax and reporting crimes were covered in both cases (and in EDVA he got 24 months for the tax crimes and 30 months for the reporting crime, to run concurrent)

Jackson says the witness tampering count warrants a consecutive sentence, but the full five-year maximum is too much

BREAKING: Paul Manafort has been sentenced to:
- Count 1: 60 months, with 30 months concurrent with EDVA sentence
- Count 2: 13 months, to run consecutive to count 1 and the EDVA sentence

Manafort: “As I’ve set in solitary confinement for the past 9 months, I’ve reflected on my life and what’s important to me.” Can see that “I’ve behaved in ways that do not support my personal code”

Reminder: As he sat in solitary confinement, he also lied and lied and lied to protect the President and with it his bid for a pardon.

Manafort says he is his wife's "primary caregiver" and notes that he'll be 70 in a few weeks. "Please let me and my wife be together," he says.

Remember the allegations that he forced her into sex parties.

Downing: “But for a short stint as campaign manager in a presidential election, I don’t think we would be here today. I think the court should consider that too.”

During that short stint, of course, Manafort reached out for help to Russia, in part bc he was looking for the next sleazy influence peddling gig.

I'm sorry I got caught

Lincoln's Bible

And with that, Paulie One Sock exits the stage. What a show, ladies and gents!
Up next, the whirling Turkish tap-dancing duo known at the Cotton Club as Misha Flynn-Tasia & Rudy No Brains Giulianskovich.

The Wacky Tale of Paul Manafort, Anne Hathaway’s Fraudster Ex-Boyfriend, and a Vatican Land Scam
Manafort and his then-partner talked about their plans to do business with the Italian who lured in investors with phony claims about sweetheart deals on the church’s real estate.

Betsy Woodruff

03.13.19 4:42 AM ET

Before Robert Mueller got him thrown in jail, before he ran Donald Trump’s campaign, before he helped make Viktor Yanukovych the president of Ukraine, Paul Manafort angled to make a ton of money off of the Vatican.

A federal judge in D.C. will finalize Manafort’s prison sentence on Wednesday, adding up to 10 years to the four-year sentence he already faces. Since he took over Trump’s campaign on June 20, 2016, his decades of lobbying work have drawn unparalleled scrutiny from federal and congressional investigators. But one dalliance has remained unreported— until now.

According to two people with knowledge of the conversations, Manafort and then-business partner Rick Davis said numerous times that they planned to go into business with a handsome Italian businessman named Raffaello Follieri, and that they expected to use his purported access to the Vatican to get a sweetheart deal on the Catholic Church’s real estate.

Trump Pushes Team to Stick Up for ‘Brave’ Paul Manafort

Erin Banco,
Asawin Suebsaeng

In 2008, Follieri pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, as well as one conspiracy count. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison. The access he claimed to have to the Vatican was part of an elaborate, intercontinental scam that made international news and generated a tabloid feeding frenzy. Federal prosecutors said the Italian businessman, who dated actress Anne Hathaway for four years before his arrest, claimed to investors that he was the CFO of the Vatican and that he would use his connections in Rome to arrange lucrative real estate deals. He claimed the Vatican was eager to sell off unused properties to raise quick cash to help offset the costs related to its ballooning child sex abuse scandals, as New York magazine noted.

A host of political power-brokers got roped into Follieri’s scheme. The Wall Street Journal reported that he became close with Clinton ally Doug Band, and offered to help Hillary Clinton court Catholic voters in the lead-up to her 2008 presidential bid. Bill Clinton even invited him on stage at a Clinton Foundation event, per New York, to thank him for a donation commitment on which he never delivered. The Italian newspaper L’Immediato reported that American super-lobbyist Tony Podesta called him “un visionario.” And Sen. John McCain drew considerable heat after celebrating his 70th birthday aboard a yacht Follieri had rented, as The Nation reported. Hathaway was on hand for the festivities.

And according to New York, Follieri was staying at his parents’ apartment in Trump Tower when he got arrested.

Now, people with knowledge of Manafort’s businesses say he and Davis also looked to get in on Follieri’s purported Vatican real-estate fire sale.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort looks on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. Picture taken July 21, 2016.
Trump Knew Just What He Was Getting With Manafort: A Crook

John Weaver, a longtime Republican political operative who worked on the late Sen. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, told The Daily Beast he heard Davis and Manafort discuss a relationship with Follieri multiple times in the years before the senator announced that bid. At the time, Weaver said, he worked on a PAC that rented office space from Manafort and Davis’s lobbying firm.

“At the time, Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Davis bragged about having an in with the Vatican through Raffaello to facilitate the sale of Vatican assets to pay off sexual abuse scandal litigation,” Weaver said. “Of course, that didn’t last long when Raffaello fell from grace, so to speak.”

“I don’t know that they knew he was a fraudster, but peas of a pod travel together so none of that surprised me,” Weaver added. “They traveled in low circles with other authoritarian or fraudster-types.”

Without going into detail, a spokesperson for Davis disagreed with Weaver’s characterization of events. “Mr. Davis never engaged in business with Mr. Follieri, nor did he solicit business from him,” the spokesperson said.

Follieri spokesperson Melanie A. Bonvicino, meanwhile, did not dispute this reporting.

“There were discussions between Mssrs. Follieri and Davis in the latter part of 2007 related to Mr. Follieri’s then real estate fund, though subsequently nothing ever materialized between the parties,” she said.

A spokesperson for Manafort declined to comment for this story.

Weaver said Davis and Manafort openly discussed their relationship with Follieri, and that he repeatedly heard them chatting about it in the halls of the building where their offices were located.

“They had high hopes,” Weaver said.

For Manafort, hope has always sprung eternal. He spent his business career chasing down far-fetched schemes, including an unsuccessful effort to buy the famed Drake Hotel in Manhattan with Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash for $850 million. He also face-planted on an investment in Ukrainian TV stations—burning through millions he borrowed from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Instead of becoming the Rupert Murdoch of the former Soviet Union, he became indebted to one of Russia’s most powerful men. He also chased stateside real estate deals with his now-ex-son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai. Prosecutors later charged Yohai with a number of financial crimes; and they alleged that, like Manafort, he committed even more crimes while out on bail.

A person familiar with Manafort’s lobbying work who spoke anonymously because of client sensitivities told The Daily Beast he also heard numerous conversations between Manafort and Davis about potentially doing business with Follieri.

“It was intended to be an inside, sweetheart deal,” the source said.

Follieri painted a detailed, fanciful picture of his Rome connections to the investors he suckered, according to court filings from federal prosecutors. He claimed to manage the Vatican’s investments, to meet regularly with the pope, and to have a deal in place that would let him buy Vatican properties far below market value. The claims were all lies. That said, he wasn’t a total outsider; the filings say he bribed a Vatican employee to take his would-be investors on tours of its museum and gardens.

And investors coughed up dollars by the million. He plowed through the cash, blowing it on dog-walking services, wine, his father’s dental bills, and yacht-rentals. He also used investor money to pay for a charter flight to the Dominican Republic—his parents and Hathaway in tow—as well as flights to the Bahamas, Las Vegas, and Nice. He persuaded investors to pay $37,000 a month to rent a luxury Manhattan apartment where Vatican officials could crash. They, however, did not crash there; Follieri did.

Follieri and Manafort’s stories followed similar arcs: yacht outings, Eurotrips, eye-popping real estate ventures, and famous friends. And now, the two men have something else in common: felony records. ... ref=scroll
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Paul Manafort

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:49 pm

Today’s verdict was about Paul Manafort’s efforts to prevent voters in both Ukraine and the US from obtaining real facts.


BREAKING / NBC News: Paul Manafort has just been indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, according to court documents provided to NBC News by DA Cy Vance’s office.

16 counts fraud and conspiracy ...did you hear that trump? mortgage fraud

no pardon soup for you Paulie :naughty:

Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree: 3 cts
Attempted Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree: 1 ct
Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree: 3 cts
Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree: 8 cts
Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree: 1 ct

District Attorney Vance Announces Indictment of Paul Manafort

MARCH 13, 2019
Manhattan Grand Jury Charges Manafort with Residential Mortgage Fraud, Other New York State Crimes, Amid D.A. Investigation Commenced in March 2017

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the indictment of PAUL MANAFORT, 69, for a yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme through which MANAFORT and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars. MANAFORT is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment filed on March 7, 2019, with Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, Attempted Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.[1]

“No one is beyond the law in New York,” said District Attorney Vance. “Following an investigation commenced by our Office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market. I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”

A copy of the indictment is available here.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant D.A. and Senior Investigative Counsel Peirce Moser and Assistant D.A.s Sean Pippen, James Graham, and Lisa White, under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Christopher Conroy (Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau) and Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs (Chief of the Investigation Division). Trial Preparation Assistants Caroline Adelson, Sophie Hoblit, and Alexander Petrillo, as well as Investigator Daniel Schoenfeld and Forensic Accountant Investigator Jeffrey Leap, assisted with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court.

Defendant Information:

PAUL MANAFORT, D.O.B. 4/1/1949

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida


Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, a class B felony, 3 counts
Attempted Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 3 counts
Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 8 counts
Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count ... -manafort/


March 13, 2019/38 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
Recently, I got a new makeup artist for my TV appearances (which, of course, all have to do with the Russian investigation). She came to the US from Ukraine in the wake of Yanukovych’s ouster. When I told her I was talking about the Manafort the first time I met her, she expressed her hope that he would pay a price, here, for what he helped Yanukovych do to her country.

I like to think today is for her. Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Paul Manafort to an additional 43 in months in prison on top of the 47 from EDVA for crimes were tied to Manafort’s efforts to whitewash a brute, in Ukraine, Western Europe, and the US, and then hide the “blood money” (as his daughter called it) from tax authorities.

Immediately after the sentencing ended, Cy Vance announced a 16-count indictment in New York State, on charges that Trump cannot pardon. Whatever you think of Vance’s grandstanding, the NY indictment immediately shifts Manafort’s incentives for a pardon, because prison in NY State would be significantly less comfortable than FCI Cumberland, where Manafort will serve his federal charges. So any pardon might just hasten a move to less comfortable surroundings.

That means the entire strategy Manafort has pursued for the last 18 months, refusing to cooperate and then, when he did enter a plea deal, using it only to waste prosecutors’ time and share information with Trump, will serve no purpose.

Which is why I think today can best be summed up by the contrast between two statements. In the middle of a long judgment that was not televised but was superbly livetweeted by Zoe Tillman, Andrew Prokop, Ryan Reilly, and others, ABJ observed the gravity of Manafort’s FARA crimes by noting that, “If the people don’t have the facts, democracy can’t work.”

Immediately after the sentencing, Kevin Downing — the Manafort lawyer who, more than the others, has been cultivating Manafort’s pardon strategy — stepped out on the courtroom stairs and made a false statement that serves that pardon strategy (as he did last week) “Judge Jackson conceded that there was absolutely no evidence of Russian collusion in this case.” Protestors immediately called him a liar, and noted that that’s not what ABJ had said, hopefully to be picked up by every TV feed filming Downing.

Indeed, ABJ had just criticized that ploy in the courtroom.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, Jackson slammed Manafort and his lawyers for their focus on the fact that he was not charged in connection with his work on the Trump campaign or accused of colluding with the Russian government. She said that the “non-collusion mantra was a non sequitor,” unrelated to what sentence Manafort should receive, and that his lawyers made the “unsubstantiated” claim that Manafort was only charged with financial crimes predating his campaign work because Mueller’s office couldn’t charge him with anything to do with Russia.

The live-tweeting is what made it possible for protestors to spoil Downing’s effort to perform as Trump wanted him to, undermining Downing’s (and with it, Trump’s) effort to spin this verdict as an exoneration in the case in chief.

Today’s verdict was about Paul Manafort’s efforts to prevent voters in both Ukraine and the US from obtaining real facts.

And it turns out that President Trump isn’t going to be able to help Manafort avoid the consequences for that. ... cant-work/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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