One of Manafort's seven (former) homes, this one a 10-bedroomer in the Hamptons. Front photo by Seth Gottfried.
Today's small shard of justice and redress was the spectacularly squalid spectacle of the perp walk of Paul Manafort at his arraignment in New York on Trump-proof state charges of mortgage fraud. The one-time Trump campaign chair and decades-long purveyor of guns, Ukrainian oligarchies and all-round skeeviness, 70, arrived at the lower Manhattan courthouse in handcuffs and prison garb. Presumably thanks to prison's abundance of carbs and scarcity of Grecian Formula, he looked noticeably chubbier and older than his crass glory days when he owned seven homes, spent millions on renovations, landscaping and electronic toys, blithely paid his mistress' $9,000-a-month rent, and paraded around in over a million bucks worth of tacky finery including an infamous $16,000 ostrich jacket, made from “numerous juvenile ostriches whose throats were slit and whose feathers were plucked out," widely derided as making him look like "Mariah Carey in 2002 on MTV Cribs." All his goodies, Robert Mueller found, were bought by millions in dirty, off-shore, pro-Russian money, which is why he was convicted last August on eight federal counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and money laundering - jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts - and sentenced to over seven years in prison.
Moments after Manafort's sentencing in a second federal case, New York prosecutors slapped him with 16 more charges - including three counts of residential mortgage fraud, three counts of conspiracy, eight counts of falsifying business records - all related to bogus loans and evaluations for New York real estate, and all, because they're state charges, unpardonable by Trump. “No one is beyond the law in New York,” declared Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance, thus delivering unto many Americans an exquisite sense of schadenfreude. Manafort's shackled, bedraggled arrival Thursday marked his first hearing on those charges; after waiting in a holding cell, he went before Judge Maxwell Wiley and pleaded not guilty to three counts of mortgage fraud. Earlier in the week, he'd been transferred from a cushy federal prison in Loretto, Penn. to the nearby Manhattan Detention Complex, aptly also home to El Chapo. Manafort was initially slated to wait out his state case at the notorious Rikers Island, but after his lawyers suggested inmates there would be less than welcoming, the judge sent him back to the Detention Complex. He also continued the detainer order, meaning Manafort must stay in prison awaiting his state trial even if he's pardoned on his federal crimes by the Grifter-In-Chief who, God willing, will soon follow him there. From one un-fan on Twitter relishing the moment:"I love the smell of state charges in the afternoon."
— Shayna Jacobs (@shaynajacobs) June 27, 2019
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Progressive independent media doesn’t exist without support from its readers.
There’s no way around it. No ads. No billionaires. Just the people who believe in this mission and our work.
If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to do the kind of watchdog journalism that a healthy democracy requires, please step forward with a donation to non-profit Common Dreams today:
Thursday's perp walk in New York City. Signs of no Grecian Formula, lots of carbs in prison. Photo by Seth Gottfried.
From Colbert's The Late Show
An earlier, snazzier court appearance. Getty Image