Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been convicted on five counts of tax evasion.
Manafort was also convicted on two counts of bank fraud and one count of hiding a foreign bank account. A mistrial was declared for 10 other charges as the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Earlier this month Manafort’s former accountant, Cindy Laporta, admitted to manipulating tax returns for Manafort due to him being a long standing client of the firm she worked for, Kositzka Wicks and Company (KWC).
Laporta manipulated Manafort’s consulting company’s accounts by listing $900,000 as a loan. The creation of the loan hid the amount of income Manafort received which in turn reduced the amount he was liable to pay for his 2014 tax bill.
Despite suspecting the loan was fake, Laporta was involved in another plan which included $1m in suspicious loans.
Manafort and Rick Gates, Trumps’ deputy campaign manager under Manafort, urged Laporta to send documents, which she believed false, forgiving the previously booked loans to a bank which Manafort was applying for a mortgage loan from.
Laporta was given immunity, alongside four other witnesses, to testify against Manafort as she reportedly feared being charged with perjury.
The charges mean that Manafort could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. He will also face a further trial which is being led by the Robert Mueller investigation in regards to possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian state.
Earlier in the trial, Trump tweeted in defence of Manafort: “Looking back on History, who was treated worse, Alfonse [SIC] Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,” or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement – although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?”