WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The office of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday recommended 19 to 24 years in jail for President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for his conviction on multiple financial fraud charges.
It would probably mean that the 69-year-old veteran lobbyist would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars," prosecutors wrote in a court filing released Friday night.
"The sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes, and serve to both deter Manafort and others from engaging in such conduct," they wrote.
A federal judge in Washington D.C. on Wednesday ruled that Manafort breached his plea agreement by intentionally lying to Mueller, the FBI and the grand jury on three different topics, including his communications with his former business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, the co-defendant who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.
The ruling voids the federal government's obligations under Manafort's plea deal to offer him leniency in exchange for his cooperation in the Mueller probe. It also means that Manafort will not be credited for his cooperation with prosecutors.
Manafort joined Trump's campaign team in March 2016 and spent three months as Trump's campaign chairman until mid-August of that year. He was convicted in a Virginia federal court trial on charges of tax and bank fraud last year and pleaded guilty in Washington D.C. on others.
The charges largely stem from his time working for a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine years before the 2016 U.S. elections. They do not directly address any alleged collusion between Trump associates or officials and the Russian government, which the Mueller team has been investigating since May 2017.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the Mueller probe as a "rigged witch hunt."
Manafort was scheduled to be sentenced in Washington D.C. on March 13. Local media said he was also awaiting a sentencing date in Virginia.