NEWS
21/08/2018 21:54 BST | Updated 22/08/2018 10:09 BST

Paul Manafort Trial Jury Finds Former Donald Trump Aide Guilty On Eight Counts

Jury unable to reach a verdict on 10 other charges.

Paul Manafort has been found guilty of eight charges relating to tax and bank fraud.

The former Trump campaign chairman faced 18 counts in total, five counts of filing false tax returns, four counts of failing to disclose his offshore bank accounts and nine counts of bank fraud.

He was found guilty on Tuesday of five tax fraud charges, one count relating to hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. 

The jury were unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 charges after several days of deliberations, for which a mistrial was declared by Judge T.S Ellis.

Manafort reportedly faces up to five years in jail.

President Trump, as he arrived in West Virginia for a rally Tuesday night, said:“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. It has nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with Russia collusion,” 

As the jury delivered its verdict, Michael Cohen, Trump’s ex-lawyer and personal fixer, pleaded guilty to illegally interfering in the 2016 election at the direction of the president in a separate court hearing – apparently implicating his former boss.

Cohen said he worked “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” ostensibly Trump, for the purpose of influencing the election. He also pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, two counts related to an illegal campaign contribution and one count of making a false statement.

The plea announcement came shortly after multiple US media outlets reported that Cohen had reached a plea deal with prosecutors of the Southern District of New York. 

Drew Angerer via Getty Images
Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer

Manafort, meanwhile, faces yet another trial in the District of Columbia.

Prosecutors in Virginia had accused him of hiding from US tax authorities $16m he earned as a political consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle, and then lying to banks to secure $20m in loans after his Ukrainian income dried up and he needed cash.

Jurors heard extensive testimony about Manafort’s tax-free spending on luxury goods and efforts to defraud banks.

 The trial in federal court in Alexandria is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 15-month-old investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 US election.

Some of the most dramatic testimony came from Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, who reached a plea deal with Mueller’s team and testified against his former boss.

Manafort worked on the Trump campaign from March 2016 to August 2016 and had previously worked on the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole.

Weighing in on Friday as the Virginia jury deliberated for a second day, Trump called the trial ”very sad” and described the defendant a “very good person”.

Following the verdict, the President said Manafort’s conviction had nothing to do with Russian collusion.

“It’s a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace,” he told reporters, adding: “It doesn’t involve me but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened.”