The evidence introduced against Capone included indicia of a lavish lifestyle, including receipts from department stores, jewelers, a car dealership, and purchases of high-end furniture, custom-made clothing, diamond-studded belt buckles, and gold-plated dinner service.
Evidence the government plans to introduce at Manafort’s trial is expected to include receipts from clothing stores, jewelers, purchases of expensive furnishings, and other high-end luxuries, allegedly purchased in amounts incommensurate with Manafort reported income. Like Capone, Manafort has been accused of using obscure banks to launder money.
Contrary to Trump’s assertions that Manafort is being treated worse than Capone, the similarities are striking in even more than lifestyle. Manafort was accused of witness tampering while judge Wilkerson swapped out Capone’s jury after suspicions of tampering by Capone.
The main difference between the two men, however, and this may be what Trump was talking about, is the penalty each faced. Capone got eleven years, eight of which he served in Alcatraz and Atlanta before being released due to ill health. It was the maximum allowed for tax evasion at the time. Under current law, Manafort is looking at 80 years if convicted on all charges. The change in penalties, however, is Congress’ doing, and not that of the prosecutors.
In Manafort’s defense is the fact that he doesn’t appear to have lived higher on the hog than athletes, stars, or many uber rich. Manafort’s problem is that what’s on an individual’s tax return must reveal sufficient earnings to support such a lifestyle. Legally obtained assets must be large enough to justify personal loans in amounts that support living as large as Capone or Manafort. If either of those elements is missing, there’ll be time to pay and that’s what Manafort’s trial will determine. So, Mr. President, Manafort isn’t being treated worse than Capone. In fact, he’s being treated the same.