A Donald Trump supporting juror who voted to convict his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has warned the president not to pardon him, saying if Trump decided to do so, it would be a “big mistake” both morally and politically.
Paula Duncan, 54, is the only juror who has spoken out since Manafort was found guilty of eight of the 18 financial crimes he was charged with, according to Newsweek. Following an on-camera interview, Duncan told Reuters that a situation in which Trump pardoned Manafort would send wrong signals to Americans — and especially to those who support him — because his former campaign chairman actually broke the law and must be punished for it.
“He should absolutely not pardon him. I think it would be a big mistake,” Duncan warned the president.
“If President Trump pardons him without him doing any time at all it would look like President Trump was saying it’s OK that you broke the law. It’s not OK to break the law.”
Speculation has been rife that Trump might grant Manafort a presidential pardon, an idea which has gained steam after Trump tweeted his support of the man even as Manafort’s jurors were still deliberating his crimes. Later, when asked directly if he would consider pardoning Manafort, Trump kept his cards close to his chest.
Duncan, however, maintained that Manafort’s crimes had only come to light because of vested interests. While she admitted that Manafort had committed crimes, their discovery owed itself largely to the fact that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had made Trump’s former campaign chairman a prime target.
“I don’t think that Mr. Manafort would have been on trial had not the Special Counsel been looking for information on Russian collusion in the last election,” she said.
Duncan also revealed that Manafort would have been convicted on all 18 counts had it not been for a lone female juror who would simply not change her mind. The Trump-supporting juror said that all the other jury members tried convincing her, but there was no way she would budge even after four days of deliberation. This left the others with no option but to convict Manafort of eight of the 18 charges against him.
“We had some people that were very wrapped up in it and really didn’t want to stop deliberating,” the 54-year-old said. “In the end, we knew we were never going to change her mind.”
But despite claiming that Manafort and even others found guilty by Robert Mueller must pay for their actions, Duncan maintained that it is time for the Mueller investigation to be called off.
“I just think the whole thing is a waste of taxpayer money and a way to harass the president,” Duncan said.