Most observers think he could be facing a decade behin

  bars in a sentence that could run concurrently or begin after the one handed down Thursday.

  Whatever happens next week, Ellis effectively handed Trump‘s team a welcome talking point, when he acc

urately pointed out that the tax and fraud crimes had nothing to do with colluding with Russia in electoral fraud.

  ”I think what most importantly what you saw today is the same thing that we said fro

m Day 1,” said Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing outside court. “There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Man

afort was involved in any collusion with any government official from Russia.”

  Manafort’s lawyers had sought to show during the trial that their client was prosecuted more rigorously than another defe

ndant might have been owing to his close links to the President — an argument Ellis seemed to accept.

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