This was drawn for CNN’s weekly opinion newsletter, Provoke/Persuade which you should sign up for.
Judge T.S. Ellis ignored sentencing guidelines and only gave former Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort 47 months in prison. If you’re a Republican, that’s a little less than four years. Manafort committed several crimes, deliberately over several years, and the judge ignored that too. He was also ordered to pay $25 million in restitution and received a $50,000 fine.
Manafort stole millions of dollars from the US government to support his absurdly lavish lifestyle. You remember the Ostrich jacket, right? Manafort hid millions of dollars of income in overseas accounts and lied to banks to obtain millions more in loans.
Manafort gave the finger to the criminal justice system at every step and still got an enormous break. Manafort was tried in two courts, the Eastern District of Virginia and in Washington, DC. It was the DC judge, Amy Berman Jackson who revoked his bail after he was caught trying to tamper with witnesses. He was found guilty on eight counts in Virginia. He pleaded guilty to more crimes in a plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but that was a ruse. He told more lies and may have been feeding information to Donald Trump’s legal team.
Manfort whined at the sentencing about how inconvenienced he’s been over getting caught and the judge recognized he wasn’t accepting his guilt. There was no contrition, remorse, or apology. But, then the judge complained about the sentencing guidelines and said the guy who built a career lobbying for dictators had led a “blameless life” before he got into trouble, and gave him a sentence that fell more than 15 years below the bottom of the guidelines range.
Manafort received about the same sentence, and in many cases, less than a typical low-level, nonviolent, first-time drug offender in the federal system.
Manafort faces another sentencing next week in the Washington court and the judge is expected to add to his sentence. The sentence he received last week could end in 2020, given the standard 15% reduction for good behavior in prison and deducting the approximately nine months he has already has served.
Manafort may not have been speaking to the judge during his statement, and instead may have been performing for an audience of one. His lawyers did the same thing after the hearing in citing how the case didn’t have anything to do with Russian collusion.
Donald Trump praised the sentencing and said it was “vindication” and tweeted, “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia.” No, the judge did not say there was “no collusion.” He didn’t say it quietly, loudly, or in all caps. In case you’re new around here, Donald Trump lies.
It may not matter what sentence Manafort receives in DC next week. Trump, being an idiot and a guy who flaunts pardons like shiny objects will probably pardon Manafort, right after the 2020 presidential election. Trump said he feels bad for Manafort, taking the side of the crook.
That would be another injustice of the American justice system. Basically, rich white guys receive light sentences. If you’re black, they might kill you on the street for selling loose cigarettes.
Here are the roughs.
As you can see, I changed the text in the speech balloon. CNN didn’t see the cartoon until it was done and they picked it. But…
They almost picked this one. I’m glad they didn’t.
I came up with this idea while drawing the CNN cartoon. I roughed it out and sent this to them along with the Manafort cartoon. I liked this one enough to draw it for my clients on Friday night.
I had this Nickelback idea before I got the other one. I didn’t like it as much.
My editor originally had the idea that I do something on Sherrod Brown and the large field of Democratic candidates. Our conversation was before the Manafort sentencing was announced. I knew our direction would change. I kinda like this one.
I’ve had this idea for over a week and I still might draw it.
I like the point of this one but I’m not crazy about the cartoon. I’ve already seen a clown car cartoon from a Republican cartoonist.
I liked this one. I added color to the rough for obvious reasons. I might draw this one too…maybe.
This was my first idea and I don’t like it at all. So, which one’s your favorite?
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Watch the video.