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Donald Trump’s ex-aide Paul Manafort apologises, asks judge for leniency

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump`s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, at a sentencing hearing before a federal US judge on Wednesday, apologised for his actions and asked for leniency after getting a surprisingly light sentence of under four years in prison in a separate case last week. Both cases arise from Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s investigation into Russia`s role in the 2016 US election.

Manafort, the veteran Republican political consultant, was in federal court in Washington for sentencing by US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on two conspiracy counts to which he pleaded guilty, related to money laundering, unregistered lobbying and witness tampering. He showed a measure of remorse, unlike at his sentencing in his other case last Thursday.

“I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today,” Manafort told the judge.

“This case has taken everything from me already – my properties, my cash, my life insurance, trust accounts for my children and grandchildren, and even more,” Manafort added.

Manafort, 69, asked Jackson not to tack on any more prison time beyond the 47 months imposed by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in Virginia, where he was convicted by a jury of tax fraud and bank fraud.

Earlier in the hearing Jackson said she would not be swayed by last week`s sentence from Ellis, which was more than two decades below the upper limit of sentencing guidelines, prompting widespread criticism it was too light.