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Former Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort Found Guilty of Eight Counts in Fraud Case

Paul Manafort
JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was found guilty Tuesday on eight of 18 counts in his federal trial over fraud charges.

The jury in the Alexandria, Va., trial was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on 10 other charges, and the judge declared a mistrial on those counts. The case was the first trial of charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and whether there was coordination or collusion by the Trump campaign.

The case involved Manafort’s political consulting business and work he did on behalf of a pro-Russian government in Ukraine. Shortly after the verdicts were announced, President Trump told reporters: “I feel badly for Paul Manafort” and called him “a good man.”

Trump was also quick to assert that Manafort’s convictions were unconnected to his work for the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

He once again repeated that Manafort’s conviction “has nothing to do with Russian collusion. It’s a witch hunt. It’s a disgrace.” Trump spoke to reporters as he arrived in Charleston, West Virginia for a rally tonight. Trump’s bashing of the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” has been a reliable crowd pleaser at his rallies, underscoring the disconnect between Trump’s hard core supporters and the Washington establishment and the national media on the Russian interference issue.

Manafort was found guilty on five tax fraud charges, two counts of bank fraud, and one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts. He still faces a trial next month in Washington on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent.

His attorney told reporters afterward that Manafort was “evaluating all of his options at this point.”

The jury’s verdict, after four days of deliberation, came in just as Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, was entering a guilty plea on multiple charges, including tax evasion and campaign finance violations, in a federal courthouse in New York.

Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman during the remaining weeks of the presidential primaries and during the summer Republican National Convention.

The charges against him in the Virginia federal trial largely had to do with his consulting practice, including his work for Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of Ukraine who was overthrown in 2014. His associate, Rick Gates, plead guilty in February to two charges of conspiracy and lying to federal investigators, and served as the government’s star witness in Manafort’s trial.