Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort

US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been sentenced to 47 months in prison for tax and bank fraud.

He was convicted last year of hiding millions of dollars of income earned by his political consulting in Ukraine.

He is due to be sentenced in another case next week related to his illegal lobbying.

The charges stem from an inquiry into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

US Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller is thought to be finishing up his 22-month investigation, which has dogged the Trump presidency.

What happened at the hearing?

Manafort – who will receive credit for time served – must also pay $24m (£18m) in restitution and a $50,000 fine.

The 69-year-old addressed the court on Thursday evening in Alexandria, Virginia, saying “the last two years have been the most difficult of my life”.

“To say I am humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement,” he added, asking the judge to be “compassionate”.

He described his life as “professionally and financially in shambles”.

Judge TS Ellis said he was surprised that Manafort did not “express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct”.

Nevertheless he said sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors calling for between 19.5 and 24 years in prison were “excessive”.

The formerly dapper lobbyist – who entered the court wearing a green prison jumpsuit and in a wheelchair – was impassive as he learned his fate.

His legal team has previously said he suffers from debilitating foot pain resulting from gout as a result of his incarceration.

Manafort has been held in solitary confinement for the last nine months at a local jail since his bail was revoked for alleged witness-tampering.

His sentencing marks a spectacular downfall for a high-rolling Republican political guru who advised four US presidents, including Mr Trump, and foreign leaders.

What’s the background to the case?

A jury in Alexandria, Virginia, convicted Manafort last August of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to declare a foreign bank account.

The judge, however, declared a mistrial on 10 other fraud-related charges.

Manafort was indicted for hiding $55m in offshore bank accounts in Cyprus, money he was paid as a political consultant for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.

Prosecutors say Manafort failed to pay more than $6m in taxes, as he funded his opulent lifestyle, including a $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket and a luxury renovation of his Hamptons mansion.

Manafort served three months as Trump’s campaign chairman, from June to August 2016, before he was forced to resign amid scrutiny of his previous work in Ukraine.

He was the first former Trump aide to be arrested in the special counsel investigation, in October 2017.

Source: BBC