, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
47 months for Manafort before Judge Ellis. That's about 40% of what I guessed, 120 months. It's a very substantial departure (although almost certainly a legal sentence) from the guidelines of 19-24 years.

/1
/2 A departure from 19 years to under 4 years is very dramatic. It's the kind of departure defense lawyers dream of. It's the kind of departure that's FAR more likely to be enjoyed by the sort of person who commits crimes with banks and wires than drugs or guns.
/3 It's pretty surprisingly lenient (though, in context, longer than average for white collar crime). Judge Jackson comes next. She can sentence up to 10, and can make it concurrent or consecutive. This changes my assessment of what she'll do. I suspect she'll max him. /end
/4 Postcript: I totally get why some people think this shows pro-Trump or pro-conservative or anti-Democratic bias on the part of Judge Ellis. If you believe it I'm unlikely to dissuade you. It may have played a part.

But it's not as simple as you think.
/5 Federal Judges are often on an axis outside of left-right. It's about judicial discretion vs. Congressional limits. Many federal judges always despised the Sentencing Guidelines, because it limits what they see as their proper absolute discretion to choose a sentence.
/6 That's not exactly a "liberal" or "conservative" position. So, for instance, Judge Ellis has been a strong critic of mandatory minimum drug and gun sentences, which are the reason he CAN'T give a convicted drug dealer a break like he gave Manafort.

politico.com/blogs/under-th…
/7 That's why you'll see some judges who would not by any stretch of the imagination be called "liberal" give oddly low sentences sometimes - and sometimes even defy the mandatory minimums (only to get overturned on appeal). They think it should be their decision, not Congress.
/8 So, though it's tempting to see "the fix was in!", and I can never exclude some sort of political bias had a role, I think you'll find most federal criminal practitioners won't leap to that conclusion.
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