Paul Manafort

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS/Sipa USA

Jury Finds Paul Manafort Guilty On 8 Counts

August 21, 2018 - 11:25 am
Categories: 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WCBS 880/CBS News/AP) -- A jury found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on eight out of 18 counts Tuesday.

The jury found Manafort guilty of five tax fraud charges, one count of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 counts on which the jury could not agree.

Ellis decided there was "manifest necessity" to proceed.

When the verdict was read, Manafort stood before the judge without flinching, his hands folded beneath his waist. He appears to have lost weight in recent weeks.  

Manafort faced five counts related to false income tax returns, four counts of failing to file foreign bank account reports, four counts of bank fraud and five counts of bank fraud conspiracy. The government alleges Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars in income and falsified records to enrich himself and live a life of luxury.

Jurors had deliberated past 6 p.m. Monday without submitting notes or questions. The extended day for the jurors raised questions about whether they might be reaching a verdict. But at that time, they didn’t.

“There was one indication yesterday that perhaps the jury was getting closer, because they decided to ask the judge for an extra 45 minutes of deliberations, so they stayed in until 6:15 last night instead of 5:30,” said CBS News White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy. “But 6:15 came and went, the deliberations wrapped up, the judge told everybody to come back at 9:30 this morning.”

The Manafort trial ran for four weeks.

Before President Donald Trump was to speak at a rally in West Virginia Tuesday evening, he weighed in on Manafort's partial conviction. Trump told reporters he feels "very badly" for him. But the president also said that the charges had "nothing to do with Russian collusion," which he called "a witch hunt and a disgrace."

He called Manafort a "good man."

Prosecutors say Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars in foreign income from Ukraine. They also say he lied on loan applications to obtain millions more to maintain a lavish lifestyle.

"When you follow the trail of Mr. Manafort's money, it is littered with lies," prosecutor Greg Andres told the jury.

The defense, which rested its case without calling any of its own witnesses, largely focused on the character of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who claimed he committed crimes with Manafort. Gates admitted to having an affair a decade ago, something the defense seized upon to question his reliability and ethical standards. Gates secured a plea deal.

Earlier this year, CBS News' Paula Reid reported — based on sources familiar with Manafort's legal strategy — that he was banking on a presidential pardon.

The president has distanced himself from Manafort, claiming he "came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time," but hasn't criticized the former Trump campaign manager publicly and has suggested the situation is unfair.

"Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One,' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement — although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?" the president tweeted earlier this month.

Until Tuesday, the only time the jurors had had any questions was on Thursday when they first started deliberating.

“There are 18 counts of bank and tax fraud. The only questions that the jury asked were posed on Thursday, when they asked about some of the intricacies of the bank law that Manafort’s accused of violating when it comes to reporting overseas accounts, and whether he had that obligation if he didn’t necessarily control 50 percent of the accounts because they were business accounts, and he didn’t necessarily have signatory authority, and a whole bunch of other complicated things,” Portnoy said.

The trial is the first courtroom test of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, though the case doesn't involve allegations of Russian election interference.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)