Paul Manafort would have been convicted on all 18 counts by the jury, except one holdout was not persuaded by the evidence presented by the prosecution and said she had reasonable double. This insight into the jury came from a juror, Paula Duncan, who spoke to Fox News on Wednesday night.
Duncan described herself as an avid supporter of President Trump, but said she was moved by four full boxes of exhibits provided by Mueller’s team – though she was skeptical about prosecutors’ motives in the financial crimes case.
“Certainly Mr. Manafort got caught breaking the law, but he wouldn’t have gotten caught if they weren’t after President Trump,” Duncan said of the special counsel’s case, which she separately described as a “witch hunt to try to find Russian collusion.”
Duncan explained to Shannon Bream of Fox:
“Finding Mr. Manafort guilty was hard for me. I wanted him to be innocent, I really wanted him to be innocent, but he wasn’t,” Duncan said. “That’s the part of a juror, you have to have due diligence and deliberate and look at the evidence and come up with an informed and intelligent decision, which I did.”
Overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution was what persuaded Duncan of Manafort’s guilt, but despite the mountain of evidence the lone holdout would not be persuaded. The Washington Post reported:
Duncan, said jurors “again and again” laid out for the lone holdout the evidence that persuaded them Manafort was guilty. But the holdout, a female, said she harbored reasonable doubt, Duncan said.
“The evidence was overwhelming,” Duncan said, pointing to prosecutors’ extensive paper trail. “I did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty, but he was, and no one’s above the law.”
“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,” Duncan said. “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.”
Manafort can thank 1 juror. 11 jurors found Manafort to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on each of the 18 charges.
“It was one person who kept the verdict from being guilty on all 18 counts,” according to juror Paula Duncan, 52 – a Trump supporter. pic.twitter.com/c7lxkkmlr8
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) August 23, 2018
Duncan, herself, seemed convinced Manafort’s trial was really only about Trump.
“I think that they used Manafort to try to get the dirt on trump, or hoping that he would flip on Trump,” she said.
But despite her political leanings, Duncan looked at the evidence and concluded Manafort was guilty. Buzzfeed reported:
Duncan [said …] that prosecutors often looked “a little bored” during the trial, and at times appeared to be taking catnaps while in court.
“It kind of sent a message of ‘we’re bored with this,'” she said, “and I’m thinking, ‘well, if you’re bored, then why are we here?'”
But in the end, despite her misgivings about the broader special counsel investigation, Duncan said that prosecutors laid out a case that “made it easy to connect the dots.”
“I think we all went in there like we were supposed to and assumed that Mr. Manafort was innocent,” she said. “We did due diligence. We apply the evidence, our notes, the witnesses, and we came up with the guilty verdict on the eight counts”
But just to make herself feel better, Duncan wore her MAGA hat on her drive home each day after court and plans to vote for Trump again in 2020.