Paul Manafort was spared conviction on all 18 counts of bank and tax fraud Tuesday thanks to one holdout juror.
“It was one person who kept the verdict from being guilty on all 18 counts,” juror Paula Duncan, 52, told Fox News.
Duncan, a supporter of President Trump, said she was hoping Manafort would be innocent but was convinced otherwise by “four full boxes of exhibits provided by Mueller’s team,” Fox News reports.
“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.”
Duncan explained emotions were high in the jury deliberation room.
“It was a very emotionally charged jury room – there were some tears,” she said, noting that she didn’t believe she was in the company of many other “fellow Republicans.”
Duncan also questioned the motives of prosecutors, repeating Trump’s characterization that it was a “witch hunt.”
“Certainly Mr. Manafort got caught breaking the law, but he wouldn’t have gotten caught if they weren’t after President Trump,” she said of the case, describing it later in the interview as a “witch hunt to try to find Russian collusion.”
“Something that went through my mind is, this should have been a tax audit,” she noted.
Judge Ellis told jurors, including Duncan, that their names would remain sealed after the trial’s conclusion, because of dangerous threats he received during the proceedings.
But the verdict gave Duncan a license to share her story without fear.
“Had the verdict gone any other way, I might have been,” Duncan said. (Fox News)
Manafort was convicted on eight counts of financial crimes on Tuesday.