President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, a major victory for special counsel Robert Mueller.
But jurors were unable to reach a verdict on 10 charges, and Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those counts.
Manafort was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud.
He was charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case Mueller brought to trial as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
The trial carries major implications for the future of Mueller’s investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt” that hasn’t found evidence of Russian collusion with his campaign, and his allies in and out of the White House say the special counsel should wrap things up.
Prosecutors say Manafort collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.
They also allege 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.
“Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and he lied to get more money when he didn’t,” prosecutor Greg Andres told jurors during closing arguments. “This is a case about lies.”
Manafort, 69, has been in jail since June after his bail was revoked following new charges of witness tampering against him.
He still faces a second set of criminal charges in a Washington, DC, federal court, of failure to register his foreign lobbying and of money laundering conspiracy related to the same Ukrainian political work that was central to the Virginia case.
By Katelyn Polantz, Dan Berman, Marshall Cohen and Liz Stark, CNN