Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, has been found guilty of eight financial crimes in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates.
A judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts the jury could not agree on.
The jury returned the decision on Tuesday after deliberating four days on the charges of tax evasion and bank fraud against the former Trump campaign chairman.
The outcome almost certainly guarantees years of prison for Manafort and established the ability of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to persuade a jury of average citizens despite months of partisan attacks – including from Trump – on the investigation’s integrity.
The charges against Manafort were among the first resulting from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Tuesday’s verdict raised immediate questions of whether the president would seek to pardon Manafort, the lone American charged by Mueller to opt for trial instead of cooperate. The president has not revealed his thinking but spoke sympathetically throughout the trial of his onetime aide.
Trump and his campaign were only a small part of Manafort’s trial, as jurors instead heard days of testimony about Manafort’s finances and what prosecutors say was a years-long tax-evasion and fraud scheme.
Manafort decided not to put on any witnesses or testify himself in the trial. His attorneys said he made the decision because he didn’t believe the government had met its burden of proof.