Trump’s ex-campaign chief Manafort guilty of tax, bank fraud

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

The guilty verdicts on eight counts are a victory for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign team and Moscow.

Trump, who has repeatedly maligned the Mueller probe, views it as a stain on his presidency and has pushed for it to be ended, described Manafort’s conviction as “very sad.”

US District Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 counts on which the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

But the jurors found Manafort guilty of the remaining eight counts , five of making false income tax returns, two of bank fraud and one of failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

While the 69-year-old Manafort could theoretically live out the remainder of his years in prison as a result of the convictions, a legal expert told AFP that his time behind bars would in reality likely last under a decade.

Just before leaving the courtroom, Manafort winked to his wife, who was present for the verdict.

Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing said his client was “evaluating all of his options” and thanked the judge for a “fair trial.”

“Manafort is disappointed of not getting acquittals all the way through, or a complete hung jury on all counts,” Downing told journalists.