Harris on Manafort ruling: 'The justice system is broken in America'

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (Calif.), one of several Democrats running for president in 2020, on Friday panned an unexpectedly short prison sentence given the day before to former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortGOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe Will the ‘law and order’ president pardon Roger Stone? Trump taps Lewandowski, Bossie for Commission on Presidential Scholars MORE, suggesting he got off easy compared to sentences handed down for other non-violent offenses. 

Harris, a former California attorney general, compared Manafort’s 47-month sentence on financial crimes to the 12-year stint a man is currently service for a marijuana charge. Sentencing guidelines had recommended that he serve between 19 1/2 and 24 years. 

“The justice system is broken in America,” she said, according to a tweet posted by her campaign’s press secretary. 

Harris also compared Manafort’s sentence to the one received by those convicted of marijuana crimes.

“Everyone should be treated equally under the law,” Harris said in a comment retweeted by her campaign.



Harris’s comments come a day after federal Judge T.S. Ellis handed down the nearly four-year sentence to Manafort after he was found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud. He was also be ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and up to $24 million in restitution.

Manafort is due to be sentenced next week in a separate case, in which he faces a maximum of 10 years.

Democrats have recently come out in force to highlight racial inequities in the criminal justice system, especially when it comes to marijuana convictions.

Harris and other 2020 Democratic contenders have called for legalizing marijuana nationwide.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (N.J.), another Democrat running for president next year and an outspoken advocate for prison reform, also panned the Manafort sentencing. 

“There are people from neighborhoods like mine in America who get convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing,” said Booker, who lives in Newark, N.J., referring to smoking marijuana.

“But in our country, we prey upon the most vulnerable citizens in our nation. Poor folks, mentally ill folks, addicted folks and overwhelmingly black and brown folks,” he added on an appearance of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that is set to air Friday night.