Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, has been found guilty of eight counts of financial crimes. These include five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two charges of bank fraud. Manafort faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.
As previously reported by Inquisitr, Manafort was charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The charges stem from consulting work that Manafort undertook for pro-Russian Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych. After Yanukovych fled, prosecutors alleged that Manafort relied on bank fraud to fund his extravagant lifestyle.
The guilty verdict comes on the fourth day of deliberations by a federal jury in Virginia. CNN reports that jurors did not reach a verdict on ten other charges, and presiding judge T.S. Ellis has declared a mistrial on those counts.
The Washington Post reports that the verdict coincides with increased criticism by President Trump of the Mueller probe. Trump has previously made public calls for the investigation to be shut down. On Monday, Trump tweeted about Mueller’s investigators, stating that they are “…looking for trouble. They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side — the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”
Testimony during the trial came from more than two dozen witnesses, including Rick Gates, former political consultant and lobbyist, and deputy to Manafort during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Other testimony came from Manafort’s former bookkeeper and accountants.
Manafort’s defense attorneys argued that Gates was the guilty party and responsible for the fraud. Gates pled guilty in February to lying to the FBI and conspiring against the United States, and was cooperating against Manafort to try and get a more lenient sentence.
CBS News reports that Manafort faces another federal trial this September for a different set of charges, including failure to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, witness tampering, and making false statements. The D.C. charges could result in an even longer sentence for Manafort. Prosecutors originally wanted to bring all charges during one trial in D.C., but Manafort refused to waive his venue rights, resulting in some of the charges being tried in Virginia. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will preside over the September trial. Judge Jackson ordered Manafort jailed ahead of his trial because of concerns about alleged witness tampering.