U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III is being slammed on social media for giving a surprisingly light sentence to Paul Manafort, who was President Donald Trump’s campaign manager for part of the 2016 election.
Manafort was found guilty on eight counts, including bank fraud, filing false tax returns and failure to report foreign bank accounts. Sentencing guidelines called for 19 to 24 years in prison.
However, as “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert cracked, “He wasn’t so much a first-time offender as a first-time getting caughter.” In fact, Manafort has lived anything but an “otherwise blameless life,” often working for ruthless dictators and notorious human rights abusers.
On Twitter, people lambasted the judge, both for his comments and for the sentence. Many pointed out other people who had received much harsher terms for far less serious offenses:
FYI in 2018, #JudgeEllis sentenced Frederick Turner, 37, to a mandatory minimum of 40 years in prison for dealing methamphetamine: "I chafe a bit at that, but I follow the law. If I thought it was blatantly immoral, I'd have to resign. It's wrong, but not immoral." #PaulManafort
— Laura Coates (@thelauracoates) March 8, 2019
— It’s Mueller Time (@BookHookah) 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
#Manafort: 47 months for a lifelong carnival of criminality.
Petraeus: 0 days for trading the country's highest secrets for a more favorable biography.
Manning: 35 YEARS for revealing evidence of actual war crimes to the press.
Your sentence derives from your proximity to power.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 8, 2019
The judge noted that Freddy Krueger “lived an otherwise blameless life,” was a good friend and liked children, but that does not erase his crimes. https://t.co/BbVy30hNeR
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) March 7, 2019
For context on Manafort’s 47 months in prison, my client yesterday was offered 36-72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a residential laundry room.
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) March 8, 2019
— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) March 8, 2019
If not for his occasional attempts to infect the citizens of Gotham with his deadly poison, the Joker lived an otherwise blameless life https://t.co/mmOc2MTgol
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 7, 2019
Note this judge went a full *75% below* the guidelines to reward Manafort even tho:
The judge says he was "surprised" Manafort did *not even express regret* today
Manafort was convicted of many felonies
Manafort committed several more obstruction *crimes after his indictment*
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) March 8, 2019
A blameless life? A blameless life? A blameless life? Geezus Fucking Christ! It is hard to keep my mouth shut these days!!!!
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) March 8, 2019
Paul Manafort, who was convicted of 8 felonies, just got less jail time (47 months or 3 years and 11 months) than people in New York State get for selling small amounts of weed (4 years for 25 grams)
— Roberto Ferdman (@robferdman) 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
Saying Manafort lived an otherwise blameless life is.....whoooo boy.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 7, 2019
Bernard noble. Got 13 years for simple possession of two joints worth of marijuana. Had priors for drug possession charges to which he pleaded out. Subject to Mandatory minimums. Trial judge reduced sentence at first but orleans parish da appealed for statutory sentence... https://t.co/iCozwUjYMW
— Krishna Sai Andavolu (@kandavolu) March 8, 2019
Crystal Mason, a Black woman in Texas, just started serving a sentence of five years for casting an illegal ballot because she didn’t know her felony made her ineligible.
Paul Manafort will finish his sentence before Crystal Mason.
Watch whiteness work.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 8, 2019
If not for destroying Alderaan, Darth Vader lived an otherwise blameless life. https://t.co/qGSZPTXfBp
— Gina 💫 (@ginalou) March 7, 2019
The Manafort sentence is a perfect example of the "white collar exception" to the criminal laws. Low level drug dealers and bank robbers routinely get 20 years, and Manafort has done far more damage to the United States
— Tim Wu (@superwuster) March 8, 2019
BREAKING: Paul Manafort gets 47 months for multitude of crimes.
RELATED: African American man gets 72 months for quietly thinking he would’ve gotten a longer sentence if convicted of the same crimes.
— Dana Gould (@danagould) March 8, 2019
In 2009, Judge Ellis sentenced Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-La.) to 13 yrs on corruption charges. It was the longest sentence EVER for a member of Congress.
Today, on far more serious charges, Ellis gave Paul Manafort 47 months instead of the recommended 19-24 yrs. (h/t @LamarWhiteJr) pic.twitter.com/SSR86CtuDt
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) March 8, 2019
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
Judge Ellis’s assessment that Manafort led an “otherwise blameless life” was proof that he’s unfit to serve on the federal bench. I’ve rarely been more disgusted by a judge’s transparently preferential treatment to a rich white guy who betrayed the law and the nation.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 8, 2019
What if #PaulManafort were young, Black, Brown, poor &/or unknown?
Would he have received less than 4 years of a possible 25 year sentence?
The 2.2 million people already behind bars know the answer. #Massincaceration #prisonreform pic.twitter.com/LXwTjVRAM5
— Rev. Cornell William Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) March 8, 2019
Also on HuffPost
I haven't been this happy on a Monday since November 7, 2016. #ManafortMonday
— Susie Meister (@susie_meister) October 30, 2017
Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos are the only the beginning. Hell is about to comb over.
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) October 30, 2017
— All Hallow’s Monkey (@VitruvianMonkey) October 30, 2017
— Erin 🍋 (@erinkatherine13) October 30, 2017
Mueller can't arrest me! I turned myself into a pickle! pic.twitter.com/FdWPnyYwkp
— Corey Miller (@StopEatingBees) October 30, 2017
— TrivWorks (@TrivWorks) October 30, 2017
— leah mcelrath 🗽 (@leahmcelrath) October 30, 2017
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 30, 2017
— Danielle Beaumont (@DMBeaumont) October 30, 2017
— laila (@lailarazmyar) October 30, 2017
— CK (@charley_ck14) October 30, 2017
— Kaos Agent Kyle (@MrStinkFingers) October 30, 2017
Paul Manafort just agreed to turn himself in to the FBI. What should we report on?
Fox News: Hamburger emoji pic.twitter.com/Wjsvkb2coW
— Roberto Ferdman (@robferdman) October 30, 2017
If collusion is fake news, I guess Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Gates fake surrendered to fake FBI and were taken to fake jail #IndictmentDay
— Richard Jeter (@MilesToGo13) October 30, 2017
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.