Manafort juror: One ‘holdout’ prevented jury from convicting Manafort on all 18 counts
A juror who sat on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s case said on Fox News Wednesday night that only one juror prevented a ruling on all 18 counts against Manafort
Paula Duncan said a lone juror could not come to a guilty verdict on 10 charges, ultimately leading Judge T.S. Ellis III to declare a mistrial on 10 of Manafort’s 18 counts.
A jury convicted Manafort on Tuesday on five counts of filing false income tax returns, one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. Ellis declared a mistrial on three counts of failing to report foreign bank accounts, five counts of bank fraud conspiracy and two counts of bank fraud.
Duncan identified herself as supporter of President Trump and said she had hoped Manafort was innocent. But, Duncan said, she was convinced of Manafort’s guilt after seeing four full boxes of evidence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team.
Duncan said deliberations were heated, evening bringing some jurors to tears.
Though Duncan said the jury was not political in its conviction, she said she was skeptical of prosecutors’ intentions, which she implied were political.
Duncan said jurors never explicitly deliberated on Manafort’s ties to Trump.
“Certainly Mr. Manafort got caught breaking the law, but he wouldn’t have gotten caught if they weren’t after President Trump,” Duncan said, referencing Mueller’s probe, which she described as a “witch hunt to try to find Russian collusion.” The president frequently derides Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference as a “witch hunt.”
“Something that went through my mind is, this should have been a tax audit,” she said.
Trump praised Manafort as “brave” shortly after his conviction and suggested that Mueller brought an unfair case against Manafort in order to compel damaging testimony against himself.
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. ‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ — make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!” Trump tweeted, referring to his longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty in a separate case the same day as Manafort’s conviction.
The day after Manafort’s conviction, Trump pointed to the mistrial as evidence that he was being improperly targeted by Mueller.
“A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case. Witch Hunt!” he tweeted Wednesday morning.
A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case. Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Updated at 11:40 p.m.