Paul Manafort Trial: Former Trump Campaign Head Found Guilty on 8 Counts

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight felony counts.
Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of 18 felony counts. CBS News

A federal jury has found former Trump aide Paul Manafort guilty on eight of 18 felony charges he faced, including tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

The Virginia jury said they were hopelessly deadlocked on 10 other counts filed against now-President Trump's former campaign chair. Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those counts. 

Manafort faces a maximum possible sentence of 80 years in prison. His convictions were on two counts of bank fraud, five charges of tax fraud and one count of hiding foreign bank accounts. 

Though the trial is not related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, it was seen as a litmus test for the legitimacy of the independent counsel.

The verdicts came on the same day as Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, appeared in New York federal court to plead guilty to multiple counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she had no immediate comment on either court action.

But President Trump praised his former campaign head after the verdict.

"Paul Manafort is a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of different people over the years. I feel very sad about that. It doesn't involve me but I still feel — you know it's a very sad thing that happened,' Trump said as he arrived in Charleston, West Virginia, for a rally Tuesday evening. "You know, this has nothing to do with Russian collusion," he said, referring to the Mueller investigation.

The president declined to comment on Cohen's guilty pleas. 

Trump's former fixer said in court he had arranged illegal payments to two women at Trump's behest to secure silence about affairs they allegedly had with him, according to The New York Times. 

Cohen acknowledged the money was paid "at the direction of the candidate" and "for the principal purpose of influencing the election" for president in 2016, the newspaper reported.

 Cohen also pleaded guilty to to breaking campaign laws, tax evasion and bank fraud. 

Prosecutors painted Manafort as a liar and lavish spender show stashed unreported income in foreign banks and fraudulently obtained bank loans. 

“Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it,” prosecutor Greg Andres said in the government’s closing argument last Wednesday. “And he lied to get more money when he didn’t.”

Meanwhile, the defense mainly attacked the character and credibility of former campaign aide Rick Gates, a key witness against Manafort. 

Manafort stood unflinching as the verdict was read, according to CBS News.

 

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