Paul Manafort, once a mainstay in the Republican Party, aiding in four of the last five Republican presidential campaigns, was found guilty in a federal jury trial on eight counts: five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. A mistrial was declared in 10 other counts: three counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, and seven counts of bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller led the prosecution in this case, and although it wasn’t related to his major task of investigating whether Russians meddled in the 2016 President Election, many say this was a good test regarding his skills in the field. Here’s a look at what happened and what’s next.
Eight Guilty Charges
Manafort has strong Russian ties, and has done work with that government for decades. It was proven that he earned approximately $60 million through this 10-year employment, and hid most of it overseas to avoid paying U.S taxes. He then spent it lavishly, and found himself in financial hardship.
Manafort falsified his wealth to banks in order to generate more cash. But all of these lies came crashing down hard, and now Manafort faces seven to 10 years in federal prison for the guilty findings for filing a false tax return in each year from 2010 through 2014, failing to file a form to declare a foreign bank account in 2012, and two acts of bank fraud related to a $3.4 million loan from Citizens Bank and a $1 million from Banc of California.
He is awaiting sentencing, and is now “considering all of his options,” according to his legal team, including possibly asking for a new trial or for the verdict to be thrown out.
Ten Mistrial Charges
There was a hung jury, or mistrial, in the 10 other counts Manafort faced. The prosecution has until August 29th to decide what to do about those charges. They can either decide to drop them, or have a retrial. Though this trial is not related to the Russian probe, Mueller is the prosecutor on both, and many wonder if Manafort and Mueller will strike a deal to not retry these charges in exchange for testimony in the probe case.
Manafort must go back to prison while he awaits his next trial this September in Washington D.C. for allegedly failing to register as a lobbyist for the Ukrainian government and potentially tampering with witnesses in that case. He has been in jail since June on the witness tampering charges.