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Manafort Gets Jail Time in First of Two Sentencing Hearings

Manafort received a relatively light sentence despite the prosecutions request for heavy punishment.

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President Donald J. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced in federal court Thursday for financial crimes unrelated to his service on the Trump campaign.

According to CNBC, Manafort received a sentence of 47 months, just under four years, in prison. Prosecutors had argued for 19-24 years – significantly higher than what Judge T.S. Ellis ultimately decided upon.

The sentence includes time served, and Manafort expected to serve only 38 more months. He was also order to pay $50,000 fine, the minimum on this case, despite prosecutors recommendation of the maximum $24 million fine.

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The pretext for the criminal investigation into Manafort’s finances was Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russian “collusion” investigation into the Trump campaign. As the probe wraps up, Mueller has found no such collusion, but has indicted several Trump associates for unrelated crimes or process crimes, like perjury.

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“He has lived an otherwise blameless life,” Ellis said of Manafort.

“Manafort had been convicted in the Virginia court last summer on eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to file a foreign bank account report. The charges mostly pertained to Manafort’s past work for Ukraine’s Russia-backed president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych,” the CNBC report said.

Manafort reportedly appeared for sentencing in a green jumpsuit and wheelchair. His recent health problems have been previously reported.

Next week, Manafort will be sentenced for convictions on foreign lobbying and witness tampering charges in a separate case in Washington, D.C.


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British Politicians Believe that the Wuhan Virus Pandemic Might Have Come from a Leak at a Chinese Laboratory

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On March 5, 2020, the Daily Mail reported that British politicians believe that the Wuhan Virus pandemic might have been caused by a leak originating from a Chinese laboratory.

Although senior insiders in the British government maintained that “the balance of scientific advice” is still sticking to the original theory that the virus was first spread to humans from a wet market in Wuhan, a leak coming out of a laboratory in Wuhan is “no longer being discounted.”

. A member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s emergency committee recently said that while the latest intelligence report did not argue that the virus was “zoonotic” – coming from animals – it did not toss out the theory that the virus came from a leak at a Wuhan laboratory.

The member of the “Cobra” committee, which receives classified information from the security services, commented: “There is a credible alternative view [to the zoonotic theory] based on the nature of the virus. Perhaps it is no coincidence that there is that laboratory in Wuhan. It is not discounted.”

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Wuhan is where the Chinese Institute of Virology is based in.

This institute is generally viewed as one of the most secure virology units in the globe.

The government-backed People’s Daily newspaper stated back in 2018 that this institute was “capable of conducting experiments with highly pathogenic microorganisms” like the deadly Ebola virus.

Scientists at the institute were the first to indicate that the virus’s genome was 96 per cent similar to one usually found in bats.

Despite being known for its tight security, there have been unverified local reports of workers at the institute becoming infected after being sprayed by blood. Subsequently, they would carry out the infection and spread it to the local population.

A second institute in the city, the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control is also speculated to have conducted experiments on animals such as bats to understand how the Wuhan Virus is spread.

Professor Richard Ebright, of Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology, New Jersey, said that while there is evidence that the Wuhan Virus was not created in one of the Wuhan laboratories, such a concept is not outside the realm of possibility.

Professor Ebright claims to have seen evidence that scientists at the Centre for Disease Control and the Institute of Virology studied the viruses with only “level 2” security – instead of the suggested level 4 security level – which “’provides only minimal protections against infection of lab workers.”

He continued: “Virus collection, culture, isolation, or animal infection would pose a substantial risk of infection of a lab worker, and from the lab worker then the public.”

He concluded that the evidence established “a basis to rule out [that coronavirus is] a lab construct, but no basis to rule out a lab accident.”

According to a study from the South China University of Technology, the Wuhan Virus “probably” originated from the Centre for Disease Control. Curiously, shortly after this finding was published, the research paper was deleted from a social networking site for scientists and researchers.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government said it “did not recognize” claims the virus emerged from a Chinese laboratory.

Regardless of whether China purposely released the virus or not, the authoritarian country still poses a threat to American interests.

American policymakers will need to re-consider trade and immigration policies with the country.

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