Manafort found guilty of financial crimes; Trump not currently considering pardon

After a 10 day trial and four days of deliberations, in one of the most-closely-watched trials in recent memory, a northern Virginia jury returned a verdict against Paul Manafort Tuesday, finding the powerful Washington lobbyist guilty on eight counts of tax and bank fraud.

Mr. Manafort was found responsible for five counts of tax fraud on income earned doing political consultant work in Ukraine between 2010 and 2014 totaling $16 million; one count of failing to file a foreign bank account; and two final counts of bank fraud for lying to obtain $20 million in loans from financial institutions.

Despite their guilty verdict on eight counts, jurors were unable to come to a consensus on 10 additional counts concerning bank fraud and violations to reporting income.

Manafort, who stood motionless as the jury read its verdict, remains in custody.  Following the reading of the verdict, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis announced he would direct probation officials prepare a sentencing guideline.

Although unlikely, Manafort faces up to 80 years behind bars.  Legal experts, however, have speculated any sentence handed down will not exceed 10 years imprisonment.

Attorneys for Mr. Manafort said their client was “disappointed” with the verdict, and was was “weighing all his options.”

Manafort, who served in the Reagan White House and also assisted the presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Bob Dole, briefly served as the chairman of the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

Weighing in on the convictions while in West Virginia, President Trump said of his former campaign manager:

“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort.  It was not the original mission [of the special counsel investigation], believe me. . . . We continue the witch hunt.”

While Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani says his client is not currently considering a presidential pardon for Manafort, Virginia’s Mark Warner, the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said such an action “would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress.”

Despite the conclusion of the trial, Manafort’s legal woes are far from over:  In September, Manafort faces a second trial on charges of obstruction of justice, failing to register as a foreign agent and money laundering.

Mr. Manafort’s sentencing hearing has not been set.

 

[Roll Call] [Reuters] [Yahoo] [Photo courtesy Drew Angerer/Getty Images via The Hollywood Reporter]