Paul John Manafort Jr. born April 1, 1949 is an American lobbyist, political consultant, and lawyer. He joined Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign team in March 2016, and was Campaign Chairman from June to August 2016. On August 21, 2018, Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to report foreign bank accounts.
Manafort was an adviser to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole. In 1980, he co-founded the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone, joined by Peter G. Kelly in 1984.
Manafort often lobbied on behalf of foreign leaders such as former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi. Lobbying to serve the interests of foreign governments requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); however, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not registered. On June 27, he retroactively registered as a foreign agent.
Manafort is under investigation by multiple federal agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had an active criminal investigation on him since 2014 regarding business dealings while he was lobbying for Yanukovych. He is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.
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On October 27, 2017, Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted by a District of Columbia grand jury on multiple charges arising from his consulting work for the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine before Yanukovych’s overthrow in 2014. The indictment had been requested by Robert Mueller’s special investigation unit. Manafort surrendered and was released on bail confined to house arrest. In June 2018, additional charges were filed against Manafort for obstruction of justice and witness tampering that are alleged to have occurred while he was under house arrest, and he was ordered to jail. In February 2018, a new set of indictments were filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging tax evasion and bank fraud. Manafort was brought to trial on those charges in August 2018, and on August 21 he was convicted on eight out of eighteen charges of tax and bank fraud. A mistrial was declared on the other ten, with one juror stating there had been a single holdout on those charges. A separate trial on the District of Columbia charges is scheduled for September 2018.
On October 30, 2017, Manafort was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after being indicted by a federal grand jury as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign. The indictment against Manafort and Rick Gates was issued on October 27, 2017. The charges are: engaging in a conspiracy against the U.S., engaging in a conspiracy to launder money, failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, making false and misleading statements in documents filed and submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and making false statements. According to the prosecutors, Manafort laundered more than $18 million.
Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to these charges at their court appearance on October 30, 2017. The US government asked the court to set Manafort’s bail at $10 million and Gates at $5 million. The court placed Manafort and Gates under house arrest after prosecutors described them as flight risks. If convicted on all charges, Manafort could face decades in prison.
Manafort’s trial in the Eastern District of Virginia began on July 31, 2018. On August 21, the jury found Manafort guilty on eight of the eighteen charges, while the judge declared a mistrial on the other ten. He was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one of the four counts of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. The jury was hung on three of the four counts of failing to disclose, as well as five counts of bank fraud, four of them related to the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago run by Stephen Calk.
Manafort’s trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is scheduled to begin in September 2018. He is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering, failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, making false statements to investigators, and witness tampering.
Manafort has been married to Kathleen Bond Manafort since August 12, 1978; she is a lawyer and an alumna of George Washington University. They have two daughters.