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Trump’s ex-campaign chief Manafort guilty of bank and tax fraud

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Trump’s ex-campaign chief Manafort guilty of bank and tax fraud
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Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort has been found guilty of bank and tax fraud, reports Reuters.

He was found guilty of eight of the 18 counts he faced, with the judge declaring a mistrial on the others.

The trial of Manafort, a veteran Republican operative, is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 US election.

The charges against Manafort largely came before his work on President Donald Trump's campaign.

Prosecutors accused Manafort, 69, of hiding from US tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle and then lying to banks to secure $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian income dried up and he needed cash.

The verdicts completed a stunning fall for Manafort, a once-powerful political fixer and consultant and well-known figure in Republican politics for decades.

"I feel badly for Paul Manafort, I must tell you, he was a great man, he was with Ronald Reagan and many people over the years, and I feel very sad about that. It doesn't involve me, but I still feel it is a very sad thing that happened," Trump said about Manafort after landing in West Virginia for a campaign rally. "This has nothing to do with Russian collusion."

Trump added of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, "It's a witch hunt and a disgrace."

Back in June, Trump called the case against Manafort "very unfair".

The verdict came the same day as an attorney for Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer who pleaded guilty in New York on Tuesday to campaign finance violations and other charges, said Trump directed Cohen to commit a crime.