The jury in the Paul Manafort has found him guilty on eight of the 18 counts brought against him by Robert Mueller’s team. It couldn’t reach a verdict on the other 10. Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on these charges.
The jury found Manafort guilty on tax and bank fraud charges. Experts told the Washington Post that Manafort might well be looking at more than decade in prison based on the jury’s verdict and the sentencing guidelines.
President Trump said he “feel[s] very badly for Paul Manafort,” but emphasized that the verdict has nothing to do with Russian interference in the election. He’s right.
Some conservatives, such as Sean Hannity, are complaining that Manafort wouldn’t have been in the dock but for his role as Trump’s campaign manager. That’s correct too, I think. In any event, Robert Mueller wouldn’t have brought criminal charges against Manafort.
But this doesn’t make Manafort a victim, in my view. Tax and fraud are serious offenses. If Manafort committed them, he deserves to be tried.
Did Manafort commit these offenses? I didn’t pay enough attention to the trial to have an opinion. But the jury seems to have considered the evidence carefully. Nor was it a “hanging jury,” as its unwillingness to convict on a majority of the counts shows.
One can sympathize with Paul Manafort, as President Trump does, without seeing him as the victim of an injustice.