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Will Paul Manafort Go to Prison? After Guilty Verdict, Here's How Much Prison Time Trump's Former Campaign Chief Could Get

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was found guilty on eight charges Tuesday after four days of jury deliberations. 

Manafort faced 18 charges centered on bank and tax fraud. The jury convicted him on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of hiding foreign bank accounts. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 counts. 

Manafort faces a maximum sentence of 80 years for the eight guilty verdicts. A sentencing date has been set for August 29.

Before the ruling was handed down, the jury asked Ellis what happens if they "cannot come to a consensus on a single count, what does it mean for the final verdict?” Ellis said the jury could reach a partial verdict.

Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, told Newsweek Tuesday that the convictions could open up a new case for Manafort to cooperate with prosecutors. 

"He is now an 8-time convicted felon and will face substantial prison time. I think we’re still not past the possibility of cooperation," McQuade said. "Now that he’s been convicted, he has perhaps an even stronger incentive to do so."

McQuade said by cooperating, there's a possibility Manafort's team could make the argument for prosecutors to recommend a weaker sentence and to throw out his second court case scheduled for next month in Washington, D.C. 

Manafort first joined the Trump campaign as a convention manager on March 29, 2016, for the Republican National Convention that took place in July. But on May 19, before the convention even came around, Manafort was promoted to campaign chairman. Lasting just three months as campaign manager, Trump announced August 19 that he accepted Manafort's resignation. The news came one day after the Associated Press reported Manafort lobbied in the U.S. on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.

Despite his role as campaign chairman, the Trump administration went on to claim that Manafort played a “limited” role.

Manafort became a key suspect in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections February 22 of this year when Mueller filed an indictment against him. While the charges on bank and tax fraud arose from the Mueller investigation, there were no charges of Manafort working with foreign adversaries to directly influence the election. 

Allegations of witness tampering that led to his June 15 pre-trial detention, along with various other indictments and plea agreements with former Trump associates, showed the country just how serious Mueller’s team was about putting people behind bars. 

The investigation has resulted in four guilty pleas for lying to federal investigators during the Mueller probe: Rick Gates, former Trump campaign official and Manafort business partner; George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign aide; Michael Flynn, former Trump White House national security adviser; and Alex van der Zwaan, a former lawyer with business ties to Manafort and Gates.

In the 10 days of Manafort’s trial, the court saw a total of 27 witnesses and 18 charges with a potential maximum sentence of 305 years in prison. His slew of charges fell into three main categories: bank fraud, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts and tax fraud. Manafort will also face a second trial next month. 

Filing False Income Tax Returns

Manafort faced five counts of filing false income tax returns, alleging the ex-Trump campaign chairman laundered more than $30 million since 2006. Prosecutors alleged Manafort, along with former Trump adviser Rick Gates, made some of the money while lobbying for Ukraine. The money, prosecutors said, funded Manafort’s lavish life style of expensive cars and suits, including spending nearly $1 million on exclusive suits and jackets over the course of five years. One of the jackets was reportedly a $15,000 leather ostrich jacket.

Each count carries a maximum of three years in prison, with Manafort facing 15 years total.

Failing to Report Foreign Bank Accounts

The four counts of failing to report foreign bank accounts totaling $75 million from 2011 to 2014 stem from Manafort’s and Gates’ tax fraud charges. Prosecutors alleged the pair had over 31 bank accounts between Cyprus, Seychelles and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The indictment claimed Manafort “hid the existence and ownership of the foreign companies and bank accounts, falsely and repeatedly reporting to their tax preparers and to the United States that they had no foreign bank accounts.” 

Each count has a maximum 5-year prison sentence for a total of 20 years.

Bank Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud

Prosecutors charged Manafort with four counts of bank fraud and five counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Manafort, with the help of his business partner Gates, used real estate purchases and bank loans to hide money from the government and avoid paying taxes.

The conspiracy charges bring a maximum sentence of 30 years each for a total of 150 years. The fraud charges also carry a maximum of 30 years each, totaling another 120 years behind bars.

While it's possible Manafort could face a maximum sentence of 305 years, it is not likely he will receive that. However, it is possible that the 69 year old could be handed down a sentence that will put him behind bars for the rest of his life. 

The first trial that took place in Alexandria, Virginia, will be almost immediately followed by Manafort’s second trial in Washington, D.C., on September 17 for charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist. Prosecutors seem to say they have even more evidence against the former Trump campaign chairman for the second trial with “well over 1,000 proposed exhibits” that Mueller’s office sent Manafort's defense lawyer, Kevin Downing.