On Thursday, the former Trump campaign chair was given a 47-month prison term for financial fraud — significantly less than the roughly 20 years recommended. And while he faces another sentencing next week, his light punishment isn’t sitting well with many on social media, and some have pointed out that people who have done far less have been given much more time. (T.S. Ellis, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, reasoned that the lobbyist with ties to Russian politicians “has lived an otherwise blameless life.”)
Reactions to the sentence were shared on late-night television — Colbert asked Late Show guest Cory Booker, a presidential hopeful, to weigh in — as well as on Twitter, where Lewinsky’s comments have taken off.
In response to NSA leaker Edward Snowden making the point that sentences derive from “your proximity to power,” Lewinsky, whose affair with President Bill Clinton in the ’90s led to legal repercussions, replied, “yup. i had been threatened w/ 27 years for filing a false affidavit + other actions trying desperately to keep an affair private.”
i had been threatened w/ 27 years for filing a false affidavit + other actions trying desperately to keep an affair private. https://t.co/hiwBur2Hll
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) March 8, 2019
Others — including CNN’s Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, The Ellen DeGeneres Show‘s Andy Lassner and producer/author Barbara Davilman — also made comparisons to the 47 months.
I got grounded for 47 months for talking-back to my mom once. + I got a chancla thrown at me, which I dodged, so it grazed my ear. My mom’s tougher than that lame Judge Ellis.
Man, if Manafort was black or brown and was caught selling an ounce of pot, he’d be in jail for life.🤷🏻♀️
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) March 8, 2019
— Barbara Davilman (@LABABS) March 8, 2019
It was pointed out many times — including by Booker — that people of color have been incarcerated for longer periods for lesser crimes. Or worse.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort getting such little jail time for such serious crimes lays out for the world how it’s almost impossible for rich people to go to jail for the same amount of time as someone who is lower income.
In our current broken system, “justice” isn’t blind. It’s bought. https://t.co/1UgBXmR8bl
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 8, 2019
Lady who voted accidentally got more time than Paul Manafort.
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) March 8, 2019
Sorry. BLACK lady who voted accidentally got more time than Paul Manafort.
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) March 8, 2019
So a woman who mistakenly voted when she shouldn’t have will do more time than Paul Manafort. And there are people doing much more time for being in possession of drugs. Have a blessed night.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 8, 2019
47 months!? Bank and tax fraud charges. Paul Manafort got the sweet #whiteprivilege sentence.
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) March 8, 2019
— Marina Sirtis (@Marina_Sirtis) March 8, 2019
#TamirRice is dead and Paul Manafort got 47 months.
Let that marinate.
Alexa, define: “blameless”
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 8, 2019
I personally don’t care to see Manafort get more prison time even though he could’ve gotten 25 years.
I’m just frustrated that leniency and judicial compassion seem to be more and more present the whiter and richer one is.
Justice in this nation is not just, equal, or fair.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) March 8, 2019
Everyone needs to calm down about the 4 year Manafort sentence. All he did was conspire with a hostile power to undermine our democracy. It’s not like he’s a minority teen caught with a joint.
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort sentenced to about 4 years in prison in Virginia case https://t.co/gmA7YdXjp6 Black kids robs gas station of $20, gets 20 years. White Republican steals millions: gets four.
— Terry McMillan (@MsTerryMcMillan) March 8, 2019
Some made reference to the “otherwise blameless life” comment from the judge.
If Manafort lived an "otherwise blameless life" then I must have lived an otherwise heterosexual one. It makes about as much sense.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 8, 2019
Aside from killing and eating those kids, Jeffrey Dahmer "lived an otherwise blameless life." #Manafort
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) March 8, 2019
Here are some more reactions out of Hollywood:
Colbert called the sentence “shockingly lenient,” adding, “Manafort’s lawyers tried everything to get their client a reduced sentence, except representing an innocent man.”
James Corden quipped, “At this point so many of Trump’s people are headed to jail, it’s going to feel like a high school reunion.”
55 million in tax fraud= white guy goes 2 jail for 4 years. Weed, anyone else, 10 years min. Welcome 2 america. Justice is as money buys. #Manafort
— Kathleen Madigan (@kathleenmadigan) March 8, 2019
The Manafort sentencing is a national disgrace. But The Pathological Liar should take no solace. The Capo stinks from the head.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) March 8, 2019
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 7, 2019
Dear @realDonaldTrump –
We know your NO COLLUSION tweet is forthcoming, but we don't care that Paul Manafort wasn't convicted of that. We care that YOU have surrounded yourself with career criminals like him, and have compromised our security as Americans.
– The Majority
— Morgan J. Freeman (@mjfree) March 7, 2019
— Tara F’n Dublin (@taradublinrocks) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton went hiking today.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) March 8, 2019
Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted about the sentence, using it as a way to take a dig at the “witch hunt” against him.
Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia. But the Witch Hunt Hoax continues as you now add these statements to House & Senate Intelligence & Senator Burr. So bad for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2019
Manafort has been in jail for the last nine months. As part of his conviction, he will also pay at least $6 million in restitution to the government and an additional $50,000 fine. Next week, he will face sentencing in a Washington, D.C., federal court on related conspiracy charges. He could receive an additional 10-year prison term (which could run simultaneously or be staggered). Or — who knows — far less.
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