Manafort juror says one holdout prevented conviction on all counts in financial fraud trial

  • A juror who participated in the trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, said just one holdout prevented the jury from convicting Manafort on all of the 18 federal charges he faced.
  • In a Fox News interview on Wednesday, Paula Duncan, a self-described Trump supporter, said the unidentified juror was not convinced that Manafort was guilty of all 18 criminal charges he faced.
  • The jury found Manafort guilty on eight counts, including bank fraud, tax fraud, and failure to disclose a foreign account. The judge in the case declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 charges.
  • “We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail, we laid it out in front of her again and again,” Duncan said of the holdout juror.
  • Duncan also described the room in which the jurors, some of them emotional, deliberated Manafort’s case: “Crazily enough, there were even tears.”

A juror who participated in the trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, said just one holdout prevented the jury from convicting Manafort on all of the 18 federal charges he faced.

In a Fox News interview on Wednesday, Paula Duncan, a self-described Trump supporter, said the unidentified juror was not convinced that Manafort was guilty of all 18 criminal charges he faced.

“We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail, we laid it out in front of her again and again,” Duncan said during an interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream.

Manafort was ultimately convicted on eight counts on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to report a foreign bank account. The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 counts.

Duncan claimed that the holdout juror is the one who prompted them to send a note to Judge T.S. Ellis asking for an explanation of the term, “reasonable doubt.”

“Most of us did not want that question out there … we felt a little foolish,” Duncan said.

Paul Manafort

Foto: Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, departs the Federal District Court in Washington, November 2, 2017.sourceAP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The interview Wednesday night marked the first time a juror has publicly identified themselves after the trial. Judge Ellis cautioned against publicizing the juror’s identities, citing the high-profile nature of the case. Ellis previously said he had personally received “criticism and threats” while presiding over the trial.

“I don’t feel a threat,” Duncan said. “I’m an American, I’m a citizen, I feel I did my civic duty. I don’t think I need to hide behind anything. I’m not afraid at all.”

Duncan said she wanted to come forward because “the public, America, needed to know how close this was.”

“The evidence was overwhelming,” Duncan said. “I did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty, but he was, and no one is above the law. So it was our obligation to look through all of the evidence.”

“The charges were legitimate but the prosecution tried to make the case about the Russian collusion right from the beginning, and of course the judge shut them down on that,” Duncan added. “We did waste a bit of time with that shenanigans.”

Asked if she believed there were jurors whose personal political views influenced their decisions, Duncan said she did not believe so.

“I think we all went in there, like we were supposed to and assumed Mr. Manafort was innocent. We did due diligence, we applied the evidence, our notes, the witnesses, and we came up with the guilty verdicts on the eight counts.”

paul manafort donald trump.JPG

Foto: President Donald Trump and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.sourceReuters

Duncan also described the room in which the jurors, some of them emotional, deliberated Manafort’s case: “Crazily enough, there were even tears,” Duncan said.

Manafort was found guilty of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts. He was indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Manafort will face a new judge and jury in another trial in September on charges that include obstructing justice and failing to register as a foreign agent.

After Manafort’s arrest, Trump distanced himself from his former surrogate and said “it doesn’t involve me.”

In several tweets on Wednesday morning, Trump referred to Manafort as “a brave man,” and contrasted his behavior with that of Michael Cohen, his longtime personal attorney, who implicated Trump as a participant in his crimes in a plea deal he signed a day earlier.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, says the two of them discussed the pros and cons of pardoning Manafort, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Giuliani echoed Trump’s assertion that he believes Manafort was treated “horribly” by the justice system.


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