Court is one of those places where facts still matter

CNN is reporting live on Manafort’s sentencing hearing before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. I admit to a morbid interest in the subject, not so much because of the Trump connection but because of the horrors of his role in Ukraine.

Have a few highlights from Judge Jackson:

Judge Amy Berman Jackson expressed that she was not happy with how Paul Manafort approached the final stretch of this case.

 “Court is one of those places where facts still matter,” Jackson said.

She said Manafort has begun to “minimize his conduct and shield others.”

Jackson admitted she couldn’t tell from an FBI document if Manafort was actually asserting false facts or not.

Jackson believes he’s repeating a lie in his sentencing memo.

She went on to say that Manafort believed he had the right to manipulate the court proceedings and that he’s made overblown statements about where he was housed in jail when it was his benefit to do so.

Judge Jackson took issue with one of the points noted by Paul Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing earlier today.

Citing Downing’s words — that but for the special counsel, Manafort wouldn’t have been charged in the first place — Jackson said, “Saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught’ is not an inspiring plea for leniency.”

Jackson talked about how Manafort may not have been repeating some points for the person he was trying to persuade as she put her hands on her chest and not for “some other audience.”

Judge Jackson is now calling out the defense’s memo, which stated that the special counsel was never able to charge Russian collusion (this was their approach to the sentencing memo).

“It’s hard to understand why an attorney would write that,” she said about Manafort’s defense team’s approach. “No collusion” is “simply a non-sequitur.”

The judge said Manafort’s argument about the Russia investigation won’t affect her sentence.

“The defendant’s insistence” that this shouldn’t have happened to him “is just one more thing that’s inconsistent with the notion of any genuine acceptance of responsibility,” Jackson said.

Just in: the sentence is 43 months in addition to his sentence last week.

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