Veteran political operative Paul Manafort was convicted on Aug. 21 of eight counts of financial wrongdoing.
After almost four days of deliberations, a 12-member jury found Manafort guilty on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud, and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
The jury in U.S. federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, said it could not reach a verdict on 10 of the 18 counts with which Manafort was charged. Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those counts.
Manafort served briefly as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016. Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted him as part of an investigation into allegations of collusion between the campaign and Russia. The charges against Manafort are not related to the campaign or to Russia.
Trump, arriving in West Virginia for a rally, said that Manafort was “a good man” and highlighted the fact that the charges have nothing to do with the “Russian collusion” narrative.
“I must tell you that Paul Manafort’s a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan, he was with a lot of different people over the years, and I feel very sad about that. Doesn’t involve me but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened,” Trump said. “This has nothing to do with Russian collusion.”
Manafort’s conviction on the eight counts came in the same hour that Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in New York to campaign finance violations and other charges.
Manafort, once a powerful Republican political operative, stood quietly while the verdict was being read by the clerk.
The two bank fraud charges on which he was convicted each carry a potential prison term of up to 30 years. But several sentencing experts predicted Manafort, 69, would receive a prison term of about 10 years.
Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, told reporters afterward that his client was disappointed in the verdict and was evaluating his options.
Mueller’s office declined to comment on the verdict.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement that “there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.”
No Date Set for Sentencing
Ellis gave the prosecution until Aug. 29 to decide whether to retry Manafort on the charges on which the jury deadlocked. As a result, the judge did not set a sentencing date for the other charges.
After the jury was dismissed, the judge told Manafort to stand at the podium and told him to help prepare the sentencing report. “The government and Mr. Manafort received very effective and zealous representation,” the judge said.
Ellis asked jurors whether they would like to have their names remain secret and they said yes. He told them, however, that they could speak publicly about the case if they wanted.
Prosecutors accused Manafort of hiding from U.S. tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, which funded an opulent lifestyle, and then lying to banks to secure $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian income dried up and he needed cash.
The verdicts completed a stunning fall for Manafort, a well-known figure in Republican politics for decades.