Tags: donald trump | paul manafort | russia probe | robert mueller | fraud

Manafort Guilty of 8 Counts; Mistrial on 10

Manafort Guilty of 8 Counts; Mistrial on 10

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Reuters)

Tuesday, 21 August 2018 04:27 PM

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty of eight financial crime charges in the first trial victory for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

A judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Manafort was found guilty on five counts of submitting false tax returns, one count of failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.

The jury deliberated for four days before announcing the verdict at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

Prosecutors spent more than two weeks presenting their case as they sought to prove Manafort concealed millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS.

Manafort was charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case brought to trial by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. He plead not guilty to all the charges.

The trial carries major implications for the future of Mueller's investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the probe a "witch hunt" that hasn't found evidence of Russian collusion with his campaign, and his allies in and out of the White House say the special counsel should wrap things up.

Prosecutors say Manafort collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.

They also allege that Manafort lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015, and they accused him of hiding the foreign bank accounts from federal authorities. Manafort received loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors.

Defense lawyers had argued that Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner, was behind the frauds. Gates, who was also charged in the case, testified against Manafort in exchange for a more lenient sentence. 

Manafort, a longtime political consultant who briefly led President Trump's campaign, faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.

"Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and lied to get more money when he didn’t,” said lead prosecutor Greg D. Andres.

Manafort also faces trial in September in Washington on seven other charges brought by Mueller, including failure to register as a foreign agent, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to launder money.

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The jury in the Paul Manafort financial fraud trial has reached a verdict on 8 of 10 counts, according to news reports.
donald trump, paul manafort, russia probe, robert mueller, fraud
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2018-27-21
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 04:27 PM
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