Bank fraud charges stem from a $3.4m loan Manafort obtained from Citizens Bank, and $1m loan from Banc of California
Washington: Paul Manafort’s 16-day trial ended with the former Trump campaign chairman convicted of eight felony counts and prosecutors facing a choice of whether to retry him on 10 other charges.
A breakdown of the jury’s verdict on the 18 counts and what’s next for Manafort:
The guilty eight
The jury was unanimous on convicting Manafort on all five of the charges against him relating to filing false tax returns from 2010 through 2014. During those years, prosecutors had argued, the longtime political consultant failed to report more than $16 million to the IRS as he hid income from his Ukrainian political consulting in offshore accounts.
Manafort was also convicted of one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts to the IRS in 2012 — a year when he controlled multiple offshore accounts containing millions of dollars — and two counts of bank fraud.
The bank fraud charges stemmed from a $3.4 million loan Manafort obtained from Citizens Bank and a $1 million loan he obtained from the Banc of California.
Witnesses testified that Manafort had lied to obtain the Citizens Bank loan, classifying a property he rented out all year long as a primary residence in order to qualify for more money. On the other loan, Manafort’s longtime protégé, Rick Gates, testified that he helped doctor a profit-and-loss statement to inflate Manafort’s business income by more than $4 million to help Manafort obtain the money from the Banc of California.
Jurors could not reach a consensus on the 10 other charges.
That included three of the counts accusing him of failing to report foreign bank accounts in years 2011, 2013 and 2014. The specific charge, known as FBAR, had been a subject of a jury question early in deliberations, and one that Manafort’s defence had sought to paint as a complex part of tax law.
Prosecutors had to prove that Manafort wilfully chose not to report the accounts, which during those years numbered more than two dozen in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom. Prosecutors had presented evidence that Manafort controlled those offshore accounts, providing jurors with emails he wrote directing the withdrawal of millions of dollars from them to pay for high-end suits, expensive rugs and lavish property.
The jury also deadlocked on five charges of bank fraud conspiracy. And they couldn’t agree on two other charges of bank fraud on loans issued by The Federal Savings Bank, an institution headed by a Trump supporter who was seeking a job in the administration.
Witnesses had testified that they found several problems with the information Manafort provided to obtain the two loans totalling $16 million. But they also told jurors that bank chairman Stephen Calk pushed through the loans anyway because he wanted Manafort to help him become secretary of the Army or secure another high-level government post.
Calk ultimately did not join the Trump administration.
Manafort’s not done in court by a long shot.
He faces a trial later this year in the District of Columbia. That case accuses him of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests. He is also charged with witness tampering.
Prosecutors have until August 29 to decide whether to retry him on the 10 counts jurors couldn’t agree on. If so, he would have a third trial, and prosecutors would have to present much of the same case all over again.