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Judge sentences Trump ex-aide Manafort to less than four years in prison

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 7 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Thursday by a U.S. judge to less than four years in prison - far shy of federal sentencing guidelines - for financial crimes uncovered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis imposed the surprisingly lenient 47-month sentence on Manafort, 69, during a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, in which the veteran Republican political consultant asked for mercy but expressed no remorse for his actions.
Manafort was convicted by a jury last August of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
Ellis disregarded federal sentencing guidelines cited by prosecutors that called for 19-1/2 to 24 years in prison. The judge ordered Manafort to pay a fine of $50,000 and restitution of just over $24 million.
Manafort, brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair because of a condition called gout, listened during the hearing as Ellis extolled his "otherwise blameless" life in which he "earned the admiration of a number of people" and engaged in "a lot of good things."
"Clearly the guidelines were way out of whack on this," Ellis said.
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