POLITICS
08/21/2018 04:45 pm ET Updated Aug 21, 2018

Paul Manafort Found Guilty In First Trial Test Of Mueller Probe

But the judge declared a mistrial for the former Trump campaign chairman on the 10 counts jurors could not agree on.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. ― Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was found guilty on Tuesday on eight counts including five tax fraud charges he faced at trial here.

However, the judge declared a mistrial on 10 other charges that Manafort, 69, faced in connection with allegations of tax and bank fraud after jurors could not reach a consensus on them. Jurors heard extensive testimony about Manafort’s tax-free spending on luxury goods and efforts to defraud banks. The verdict came after the jury had indicated earlier in the day that they were deadlocked on at least one count.

In addition to the guilty verdict on five tax fraud charges, the jury found Manafort responsible for two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

The jury did not come to a verdict on other bank fraud charges and other charges related to reporting foreign accounts.

Manafort faces a maximum of 80 years in prison from the eight charges he was found guilty of Tuesday.

The verdict marked yet another victory for the special counsel team being led by Robert Mueller, which faced its first trial after securing a string of guilty pleas from Trump campaign associates. Mueller was named as special counsel in May 2017.

Speaking to reporters in West Virginia later that day, Trump brushed off the implications of the jury’s decision. 

“I must tell you that Paul Manafort’s a good man,” Trump said as he exited Air Force One. 

“It doesn’t involve me but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened,” he said. “This had nothing to do with Russian collusion. ... It’s a witch hunt, and it’s a disgrace.”

Some of the most dramatic testimony of the Manafort trial came from Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy who reached a plea deal with Mueller’s team and testified against his former boss. At closing arguments last week, prosecutors told jurors that Manafort “knew the law, and he violated it anyway.”

Manafort, who was on the Trump campaign from March 2016 to August 2016, had previously worked on the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. But in more recent years, he had been known more for his lucrative political work in Ukraine.

The next critical question is: How will President Trump respond? He’s shown sympathy for Manafort’s situation, suggesting he thought it was unfair that Manafort was held in solitary confinement pretrial and that his trial was a “very sad day for our country.” Manafort still faces another trial in Washington, D.C.

Hayley Miller contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional information about the jury’s decisions and Trump’s remarks.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

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