Paul Manafort is likely headed to a guilty verdict as the jury heads to deliberations, and it could still get worse from there, a lawyer working on the Russia probe predicts.
On Wednesday, the jury in the trial for Donald Trump’s former campaign manager heard closing arguments and are expected to start deliberations on the several counts of fraud that could land him in prison for life. But as one insider in the Russia probe told Politico, the expected guilty verdict is just the start of the trouble for the 69-year-old Manafort.
With the Manafort verdict coming back as early as this week, the longtime political operative faces a second federal trial in September on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent while lobbying on behalf of the Ukraine government, the report noted.
An insider said it appears that Manafort is headed to a guilty verdict in the current trial and could face another one later in the fall.
“Even if, against all odds, [Manafort wins] here, they’re right back at it in a month so,” said a defense lawyer who has worked on the Russia investigation in an interview with Politico.
Some have floated the possibility that Donald Trump could simply pardon Paul Manafort, and the president has signaled that this could be a possibility in tweets repeatedly calling the Russia investigation a witch hunt. But Trump has never broached this topic directly, and legal experts say it would be a difficult proposition especially as Trump faces his own investigation for obstruction of justice related to his actions in the Russia investigation.
The remainder of the Russia investigation could hinge on the Paul Manafort verdict, however. As CNN reported, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he believes Robert Mueller is waiting for the Manafort verdict before proceeding with a planned interview with Trump.
“I think they’re waiting for the Manafort case,” Giuliani said on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time., noting that he believes that a stall in the negotiations is due to the impending verdict. “I think they feel if they win, they’re going to be empowered.”
It was not clear how long the Paul Manafort jury could deliberate before returning a verdict. As Yahoo News noted, Judge T.S. Ellis III has laid out a period of between two and three weeks for the jury to consider the charges, but the verdict could come anywhere in that timeframe.