Political consultant Paul Manafort led a professional life that put him in rich and powerful circles. He worked for four of the last five Republican presidents and made his money by making connections.
But as Manafort’s fortunes grew, so did federal prosecutors’ curiosity about his work with politicians at home and abroad. Now Manafort, 69, is facing the possibility that he will live out his life behind prison bars.
In October 2017, Manafort surrendered at the FBI field office in Washington, D.C. after being indicted on 12 counts by a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort went on trial in August 2018 on charges of tax and bank fraud and tax evasion, and faces a second trial in the fall on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent while he lobbied for the government of Ukraine.
While the indictment came out of the special counsel’s investigation, none of the charges against Manafort directly involve President Trump. Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman for a short time during the summer of 2016.
Here is what we know about Paul Manafort:
- Manafort was born in 1949. He grew up in Connecticut. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University.
- Manafort worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
- He was the chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign but resigned in August 2016 after revelations surfaced about his work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- According to The Associated Press, Manafort “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.” All U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent any foreign leaders or political parties.
The New York Times reported that Manafort spoke to Russian intelligence officials last year via telephone calls that were monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. Manafort has denied that he spoke with the Russians.
Manafort has also been linked to handwritten ledgers that list cash payments of $12.7 million in Manafort’s name.
- According to Politico, legal complaints filed by representatives of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in the Cayman Islands in 2014 claimed Deripaska gave Manafort $19 million to invest in a Ukrainian TV company. After the venture failed, Manafort took the money, the complaint claims, and did not pay Deripaska back.
- Trump hired Manafort's lobbying firm to help the Trump Organization.
CNN reported that federal investigators wiretapped Manafort both before and after the 2016 election.
- Federal investigators executed a “no-knock warrant” at Manafort's home in northern Virginia on July 26, 2017. Manafort had met with the Senate intelligence committee the day before.