A jury has convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts of bank and tax fraud but Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 other counts on which the jury was unable to reach a decision.
NBC reported it was the first public test of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but in actuality none of the offenses on which Manafort was convicted had anything to do with the Trump campaign.
NBC confirmed that the victory “wasn’t total” because of the undecided 10 counts.
“The jury deliberated for four days after hearing 12 days of arguments, evidence and witnesses. Mueller’s team buried the defendant in an avalanche of emails, tax returns, bank documents, and the damning testimony of bankers, accountants, and Manafort’s onetime protégé, Rick Gates. The defense sought to raise doubts about Gates’ credibility and about other aspects of the evidence, and was partially successful,” the report said.
Fox reported the trial was no more or less than a “showdown” between the Trump administration and Mueller.
Manafort was charged with hiding a “significant percentage” of income earned from his Ukrainian work from the IRS. He also was charged with getting millions of dollars in bank loans fraudulently.
But, the report said, “The case didn’t specifically address any alleged collusion between Trump officials and the Russian government. Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s probe into such allegations a ‘witch hunt’.”
And the trial included no allegations of misconduct pertaining to the Trump campaign.
But the testimony claimed wild spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into Manfort’s pockets, Fox said.
It was the result of Manafort’s political consulting for the pro-Russian Ukrainian political party of Viktor Yanukovych, who was removed as Ukraine’s president in 2014.
Manafort was indicted along with former business associate Rick Gates, who testified for the government.
Manafort became part of Trump’s campaign in March 2016 to help line up Republican National Convention delegates for Trump, the same job he’d done for Gerald Ford years earlier.
He left the campaign on Aug. 19 after it was revealed he’d gotten $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s party years earlier.
Manafort now is facing another trial, set in September in Washington. It involves claims he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the U.S. government.
The eight counts included five of filing false tax returns, one of not filing a required IRS form and two bank fraud counts.
None of them was related to Mueller’s mandate to probe Russian interference in the 2016 election.