Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, was convicted today (Aug. 21) on eight federal felonies— five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. West Virginia University expert Erik Herron (political science) says the Manafort convictions and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas may “connect the dots” of Russian interference in the 2016 election, while Anne Lofaso (law) says the Manafort trial will play a historical role in how the Trump presidency is perceived when time gives us distance and objectivity.
“Today’s guilty verdict against Paul Manafort on eight counts related to financial fraud directly stems from his work supporting the corrupt former president of Ukraine. While these charges are not specifically connected to Russian interference in the U.S. elections, Manafort and others face additional charges that may ultimately connect the dots. Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas are another part of this puzzle. While the entire picture won’t be clear until all of the investigations are completed, today is an incredibly important day in clarifying how President Trump’s campaign operated and how it may be connected with Russia.”
“Defense attorneys are likely to appeal Manafort’s eight felony convictions. It is unclear whether prosecutors will retry Manafort on the ten counts on which the judge declared a mistrial. But either way, Manafort still faces more criminal trouble. He is currently indicted on an additional twelve felony charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. These counts relate primarily to Russia's role in the 2016 election, headed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.”
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