Manafort's light sentence criticized as 'disrespectful' and 'an outrage'

Access to the comments Comments
By Dennis Romero  with NBC News Politics
Manafort's light sentence criticized as 'disrespectful' and 'an outrage'
Paul Manafort seated in a wheelchair next to his lawyers in Virginia federal court on March 7, 2019.   -   Copyright  Art Lien

Legal observers were surprised by the relatively light, 47-month sentence received Thursday by President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted in August on charges of tax and bank fraud.

The 69-year-old, who appeared in court in Virginia in a wheelchair and who pleaded for compassion, could have been sentenced to up to 24 years in federal prison.

"As a former prosecutor, I'm embarrassed," said NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, speaking Thursday on MSNBC. "As an American, I'm upset ... I am just as disappointed with Judge Ellis. It's an outrage and it's disrespectful of the American people."

Former federal prosecutor Laurie L. Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said, "I'm somewhat surprised."

"This is so much more lenient than what the guidelines would be," she said. "Manafort's personal plea and frail condition probably did make a difference."

Manafort faces sentencing in a separate federal case March 13.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.