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BREAKING: Trump’s ex-campaign chief, Manafort, guilty of fraud

Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort was found guilty of fraud Tuesday, in the first trial resulting from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

While the jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 counts, prompting the judge to declare a partial mistrial, Manafort was found guilty on the eight remaining counts including tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to declare foreign bank accounts.

Among the charges he was found guilty of includes five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. The jury said in a note it has not reached consensus on the other 10 counts. The judge has declared a mistrial on those counts.

The judge has excused the jury. Judge Thomas S. Ellis III encouraged the jury not to talk to the press but did not bar them from doing so, saying, “I suggest to you that you have a duty of confidentiality.”

The trial of the former manager of US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign has gone on for four weeks and the jury has been deliberating for four days.

The trial at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s supposed role in the 2016 US election.

Prosecutors have argued that Manafort hid money in foreign bank accounts and failed to claim it on his taxes. They also argued that obtained $20 million in falsified bank loans.

Manafort allegedly stashed millions of dollars in secret foreign bank accounts, many of them based in Cyprus.

All 27 witnesses during the trial were for the prosecution — Manafort’s defense team called none.

During their four days of deliberations, the jury asked Judge Ellis for several clarifications, including the definition of the term “reasonable doubt,” as they were required to find guilt beyond reasonable doubt in order to convict Manafort.

Other questions included clarification of the requirements for US citizens to report financial interests in foreign bank accounts and what a shell company is, since Manafort allegedly used such an entity to accept payments and move money into secret bank accounts.

Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison. The charges he has been found guilty of so far carry steep sentences.

Each of five counts of subscribing to a false income tax return carries a maximum of three years in federal prison; the count of failing to report a foreign bank account carries a five-year maximum sentence; and each of his two counts of bank fraud carries a maximum of 30 years behind bars.

The ten counts remaining include two counts of bank fraud, all five counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and three counts of failing to report foreign bank accounts.

Judge Ellis has not yet set a sentencing date and has given prosecutors until August 29 to decide whether to retry Manafort on the deadlocked charges.

US Senator Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina) said on Tuesday that any attempt by Trump to pardon Manafort “would be a gross abuse of power” and would require an immediate congressional response.


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