"There was one holdout."— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 23, 2018
In an exclusive interview on @foxnewsnight, Paul Manafort juror Paula Duncan said Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team was one holdout juror away from convicting Paul Manafort on all 18 counts of bank and tax fraud. https://t.co/IPeZ46buVL pic.twitter.com/vNMFMBUuiz
Among the jurors sitting on Paul Manafort’s trial was a President Donald Trump supporter who now says that while she “did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty,” she couldn’t help but agree that the evidence was “overwhelming.”
During an interview on Fox News, juror Paula Duncan opened up, saying that she thought that making the American people aware of Manafort’s crimes was the right thing to do.
"I thought that the public, America, needed to know how close this was, and that the evidence was overwhelming," she explained. "I did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty, but he was, and no one's above the law. So it was our obligation to look through all the evidence."
Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was found guilty on eight of the 18 counts brought against him. They include five tax fraud charges, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of hiding foreign bank accounts. He could remain in jail for up to 80 years.
According to Duncan, the first juror to speak out publicly, Manafort did not go down on all counts because of one lone juror who claimed, until the end, she had a "reasonable doubt."
"We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail. We laid it out in front of her again and again and she still said that she had a reasonable doubt. And that's the way the jury worked. We didn't want it to be hung, so we tried for an extended period of time to convince her, but in the end she held out and that's why we have 10 counts that did not get a verdict," she said.
Things got so emotional, she added, that “crazily enough, there were even tears” during the deliberations.
As jurors looked into the paper trail, Duncan added, they did notice that “in the evidence there were references to Trump and his son-in-law and to the Trump campaign," but that in the end, the jury’s decision had nothing to do with politics.
"I think we all went in there like we were supposed to and assumed that 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," she said.
Duncan did say that at least one of the witnesses’ testimonies was thrown away because of its nature.
Rick Gates, one of Manafort’s longtime deputies, was “nervous,” Duncan said. It was clear that he got a deal to come against Manafort even though he was also involved in all the wrongdoing.
"Some of us had a problem accepting his testimony because he took the plea. So we agreed to throw out his testimony and look at the paperwork, which his name was all over," Duncan said.
"I think he would have done anything to preserve himself — that's just obvious in the fact that he flipped on Manafort," she later added.
Despite being found guilty of tax-related crimes, this isn’t the end of Manafort’s troubles with the law. He still has another trial coming to solve allegations he was involved in a money laundering conspiracy and that he failed to register as a foreign agent for Ukrainian interests.
After the president publicly commented on Manafort’s case, saying the trial was "sad," many people suggested Trump may use his pardon powers on his former campaign manager. But as we can now see, even Trump supporters themselves are able to face the facts, so why is it so hard for the president himself to do the same?
Whatever happens after the coming Manafort trial, one thing is for sure: If Trump does decide to use his powers to pardon Manafort, it could imply he's rewarding the former campaign chair for not cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. And that would mean he would be trying to influence a potential witness.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters