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DC court disbars Paul Manafort after convictions

Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort has been formally disbarred in Washington, the capital's court of appeals announced Thursday.

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Eli Watkins
Katelyn Polantz, CNN
CNN — Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort has been formally disbarred in Washington, the capital's court of appeals announced Thursday.

The unanimous opinion from the DC Court of Appeals said a January suspension of Manafort from the DC Bar should move into place fully, meaning that Manafort -- who is in federal prison -- has been disbarred.

The judges cited Manafort's convictions for crimes of "moral turpitude," which the opinion said required him to be disbarred. Manafort resigned from the Connecticut bar in January, according to an online Connecticut court document.

The expected step from the DC court marked the latest blow for the longtime political operative who helped elect President Donald Trump. As a result of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Manafort was found guilty of a slew of federal crimes and ultimately received sentences totaling seven and a half years in prison in March.

Manafort settling into federal prison

He has since settled into what is intended to be his permanent home in the federal prison system, at the penitentiary in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in the rural western part of the state.

Following his sentencing, the ailing Manafort was moved from the Alexandria Detention Center to a local jail in rural Virginia, then to a federal prison in eastern Pennsylvania as he was being processed, according to a source with knowledge of Manafort's situation. He was transferred last week to Loretto, a low-security facility that houses about 1,000 inmates, nearly all male.

It is possible Manafort could be moved again -- or at least transported to New York City's jail system temporarily -- as he faces state charges. The New York City district attorney announced that indictment minutes after Manafort learned the second of his federal prison sentences in March, and he has not yet been before a judge in that case. It is not yet known when he could be taken to New York for his first court appearance there.

His release date, according to the Bureau of Prisons, is set for Christmas Day 2024.

At his last court appearance, Manafort was hobbled by a gout-like condition in his legs that he'd developed while in jail and used a wheelchair.

He was convicted by a jury of tax and banking crimes in August 2018, then pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice. As part of his plea, he admitted to a host of financial and lobbying crimes committed over his decade as a lobbyist for clients including Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs. He also agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors from Mueller's office -- before lying during those interview sessions.

Special counsel's office prosecutors did not find that Manafort had colluded with the Russian government while he served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016, according to Mueller's findings.

At least one investigation that relates to Manafort was pursued by Mueller and has continued, having been transferred to another prosecutor's office, and Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates has continued to help authorities, according to the Mueller report and court filings.

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