A federal jury in Northern Virginia on Tuesday reached a guilty verdict in eight of the 18 counts of bank and tax fraud brought against former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
CNBC reported that the jury found Manafort guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to file foreign bank account reports.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team called 27 witnesses in the trial, including Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates, who also worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.
Gates entered a plea agreement earlier this year admitting to conspiracy and making false statements to federal investigators.
He has not yet been sentenced.
All the charges brought against Manafort and Gates are not related to their work on the Trump campaign, but they are connected to consulting work they did for Ukraine and other matters.
Fox News reported earlier on Tuesday that the 12 member jury had passed a note to presiding Judge T.S. Ellis asking, “If we cannot come to consensus on a single count …what does that mean for the final verdict?”
The judge responded that this would not be “exceptional” and said the jury could reach a “partial verdict.”
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told Fox News that Mueller’s team could retry Manafort on the counts to which the jury was not able to reach a verdict.
But, he added, “It’s always good news for the defense if the jury can’t resolve the case.”
In May, Ellis upbraided Mueller’s prosecutors suggesting they lied about the scope of the Russia investigation, and the true purpose of the criminal case against Manafort, which is to bring down Trump.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” Ellis said. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”
Trump told reporters ahead of a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night that he feels “very badly” for Manafort, noting the verdict had nothing to do with Russian collusion or his campaign.
“We continue the witch hunt,” he said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 21, 2018
Renowned legal scholar Alan Dershowitz argued last month that Mueller is squeezing Manafort in hopes of making him “sing” or even “compose” against Trump.
“I used to teach my first year criminal law students that if you commit a crime in America always commit a crime with someone more important than you are so you can flip on them and they can’t flip on you. That’s what’s going on here,” Dershowitz said.
Manafort also faces charges in federal court in Washington, D.C., regarding failing to register as a foreign agent.
That trial is slated to start next month.
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