Jury Finds Paul Manafort Guilty In Federal Tax And Bank Fraud Trial
Aug 26 2018
Duncan, who described herself in the interview as a supporter of President Donald Trump, said the hundreds of exhibits amassed by prosecutors to support the bank and tax fraud case convinced her of Manafort's guilt.
Defense lawyers had argued that Rick Gates, Mr. Manafort's former right-hand man and the government's star witness, was the real mastermind of the frauds.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He also remarked on his surprise at the level of attention the case has received and the criticism he received for his management of the trial.
Each of the bank fraud counts carries a significant maximum sentence and the 69-year-old could theoretically live out the remainder of his years in prison - though a legal expert AFP contacted predicted it would in reality it would run to under a decade.
The defense lawyers also suggested that Mr. Manafort had been targeted by prosecutors to pressure him into cooperating with Mr. Mueller's inquiry into possible collusion by the Trump campaign with Russian Federation in the 2016 election.
The jury returned the decision after deliberating four days on tax and bank fraud charges against Manafort, who led Trump's election effort during a crucial stretch of 2016, including as he clinched the Republican nomination and during the party's convention.
A judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts the jury could not reach consensus on.
Mark Warner, the senior Democrat on the US Senate Intelligence Committee, warned that any attempt by Trump to use his presidential powers to pardon Manafort or interfere in Mueller's probe "would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress".
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing, in Washington, May 23, 2018.
Trump then tweeted his support of Manafort on Wednesday while criticizing Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to a bank and two campaign finance violations: willfully causing an illegal corporate contribution and making an excessive campaign contribution. Paul Manafort is thus far the only person charged by Mueller in this investigation who went to trial. The judge repeatedly chided Mueller's team in front of the jury, though at the end of the trial he urged the panel not to consider during its deliberations any opinions the judge may have expressed.
Manafort, 69, called no witnesses at all, as his lawyer argued prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he meant to defraud the government or banks.
A new poll of registered voters published by Fox News shows approval of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 USA presidential election is at 59%, up 11 points from July. "Not until the special counsel showed up and started asking questions", lawyer Richard Westling said, suggesting the special counsel "cobbled together" information to "stack up the counts" against Manafort and overwhelm the jury. And Manafort faces another trial related to his foreign lobbying work and alleged money laundering in Washington, D.C., next month.
The list also appears to refer to numerous purchases of high-end clothing and consumer electronics that were discussed in the Virginia trial as prosecutors there laid out their case about Manafort's income and wire transfers from foreign accounts.
Prosecutors say Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars in foreign income from Ukraine.
One count on which the jury was hung was a $5.5 million loan that did not close.
Failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, 2013. Manafort did not testify at trial and his lawyers conducted mostly limited questioning of the government's witnesses.