Paul Manafort, the longtime Republican political consultant who spent five months as President Donald Trump's campaign chair during the 2016 presidential election, has been found guilty on eight counts of fraud by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on another 10 counts of fraud, and U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III declared a mistrial on those charges.
Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to properly disclose his foreign bank accounts. No date for his sentencing has been announced, but Manafort could face many years in federal prison. He faces a second criminal trial next month in Washington on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, including obstruction of justice, failure to register as a foreign agent (a reference to Manafort's work for the former pro-Russian government of Ukraine) and conspiracy to launder money.
The jury in Alexandria had sent a note to Judge Ellis earlier on Tuesday afternoon saying jurors could not come to a consensus on 10 of the 18 counts, according to USA Today.
According to CNN, the jury's note, as read by Ellis, said: "Your honor, if we can not come to a consensus on a single count, how should we fill in the jury verdict sheet?"
"It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so," the judge is reported to have responded. "You're the exclusive judges," he added. "Take all the time which you feel is necessary."
Manafort's conviction carries implications that reach far beyond the immediate charges, even though his alleged crimes did not relate to his work for Trump. They could affect how the public views the future of the Mueller investigation, which the president regularly blasts as a "witch hunt" that has found no evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
Prosecutors allege Manafort deposited $65 million into foreign bank accounts between 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury clothing, real estate and cars in the same period.
Per CNN, prosecutors detail that Manafort "lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015, and they accused him of hiding the foreign bank accounts from federal authorities. Manafort received loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors."
Manafort also faces an additional 14 criminal counts, including charges of federal conspiracy and money laundering, in Washington. That trial is slated to begin in September in a D.C. federal courthouse.
He has also been charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering, alongside Konstantin Kilimnik, a close business associate from Russia.
Manafort was indicted in October, along with his longtime business associate Rick Gates, who has since pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors investigating the pair’s work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Trump has previously defended Manafort in comments to reporters, saying that his former campaign manager "has nothing to do with our campaign, but I will tell you I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago.”
"You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time," the president continued. "He worked for Ronald Reagan. He worked for Bob Dole. He worked for many other he worked for me, what, 49 days or something. Very short period of time."