Paul Manafort Found Guilty On Eight Counts Of Tax And Bank Fraud
A federal jury in Virginia found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud.
The jury returned the verdict on its fourth day of deliberation. Manafort faced 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud charges, but the jury told Judge T.S. Ellis III on Tuesday that it could not reach a consensus on 10 charges.
Manafort was accused of hiding income he received as part of his consulting work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The government alleged that Manafort used offshore companies to hide the money, which he failed to report on his tax returns. The work for Yanukovych ended in 2014, two years before Manafort joined the Trump team.
Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one count of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.
The government’s star witness in the case was Rick Gates, a former Manafort business associate who also worked on the Trump campaign. Gates, who accepted a plea deal with the special counsel’s office in February, testified that he hid income and falsified business documents at the direction of Manafort.
Manafort’s attorneys sought to portray Gates as an unreliable witness, accusing him of being the true mastermind of the fraud. Manafort’s lawyers accused Gates of embezzling money from Manafort. They also got Gates to admit on the witness stand that he used money pilfered from Manafort to carry out an extramarital affair in London. (RELATED: Trump Weighs In On Manafort Case, Calling It ‘Very Sad’)
President Donald Trump weighed in on the case Friday, calling the charges against his former campaign boss “very sad.”
Trump declined to say whether he is considering a pardon for Manafort, who, at 69 years old, will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.
Manafort is scheduled to go to trial in Washington, D.C., in September on charges that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent in his Ukraine work.
Prosecutors with the special counsel’s office have not said whether they have any evidence that Manafort conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. Some legal analysts have speculated that special counsel Robert Mueller has mounted an aggressive prosecution of Manafort in hopes of getting him to flip on Trump.
The White House has said in the past that Manafort does not have any information that could damage Trump.