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 that people who have done far less have been given much more time. (Judge T. S. Ellis, Senior United States District Judge of the United States 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 The Late Show guest Cory Booker, a presidential hopeful, to weigh in — as well as on Twitter, where Lewinsky’s comments have taken off.
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort speaks at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) and daughter Ivanka (R) look on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort appears at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort talks to the media from the Trump family box on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's senior campaign adviser Paul Manafort (L) walks into a reception with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort listens to Ivanka Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A man with a security credential takes a selfie at the podium as Donald Trump, flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 19: Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Manafort., Convention Manager, Trump Campaign, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 10, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NA.R.DoleMicCk1.081596.RG.Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks up from podium at balloons and television cameras as convention center manager Paul Manafort, at right, points out preparations for tonight's acceptance speech in San Diego, 08/15/96. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, young Republicans political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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In response to NSA leaker Edward Snowden making the point that sentences derive from “your proximity to power,” Lewinsky, whose affair with President 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.”
yup. 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
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.🤷🏻♀️
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.
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.
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!
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.