Manafort convicted on 8 counts; mistrial declared on 10 other charges
A federal jury in Virginia convicted Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, on eight counts on Tuesday, but the judge declared a mistrial on the 10 other charges he faced.
Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts and two counts of bank fraud. A mistrial was declared in three counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, and seven counts of bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.
The trial was the first public test of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and while the special counsel was vindicated, the victory wasn’t total.
While the jury was in the court room and the verdict was being read, Manafort, offering no expression, was staring straight ahead, not looking at the jury. Members of the defense team was often turned their heads to look at the jury.
Manafort was asked to step to the podium after the jury left the room. Judge T.S. Ellis told Manafort that he has been found guilty on a variety of counts, and that Manafort would have a role to play in the pre-sentence investigation report that the judge relies on to help determined sentencing.
He faces an estimated seven to nine years in prison.
Prosecutors have until August 29 to decide what they will do about the 10 mistrial charges.
The jury deliberated for four days after hearing 12 days of arguments, evidence and witnesses.
Mueller’s team buried the defendant in an avalanche of emails, tax returns, bank documents and the damning testimony of bankers, accountants and Manafort’s onetime protégé, Rick Gates. The defense sought to raise doubts Gates’ credibility and about other aspects of the evidence, and was partially successful.
Manafort, 69, also faces another trial on related charges next month in Washington.
He came to the Trump campaign with deep ties to Russian figures, and was the only non-Trump-family member from the campaign team to participate in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, which was set up on the promise of obtaining incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
Manafort also played a role in an effort to soften a plank in the Republican Party platform calling for lethal aid to Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion of their country.
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