Several Twin County residents praised the convictions on federal charges of two advisers close to President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign.
Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman during the 2016 election, was convicted Tuesday on eight federal counts, out of the 27 he was charged with, including tax fraud.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, also Tuesday, took a plea agreement on eight federal charges including tax evasion and fraud, and campaign finance violations for paying $130,000 to pornography movie star Stormy Daniels, and for buying the rights to a tabloid story about a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, and then having the story killed.
As part of Cohen’s plea agreement Trump’s former personal lawyer agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, including implicating Trump in a criminal conspiracy, saying Trump told him to do it.
“Lock them up,” said George Jurgsatis, of Catskill. “I do not think that needs any elaboration. The situation explains itself.”
Ben June, of Athens, was not surprised by the outcome of the cases against the two Trump confidants, he said.
“This has been a long time coming,” June said. “I’m surprised they only got [Manafort] on eight charges. And what Cohen said is a serious accusation. I think people know what kind of characters these two guys are now.”
Bob Adam, of Hudson, called the convictions a good thing for the people, saying that the country is being looted by men such as Cohen and Manafort.
“Trump is the biggest criminal of them all,” Adam said. “Trump is leading the whole criminal march. The rule of law will hold.”
Ross Willows, of Chatham, applauded the convictions of Manafort and Cohen,
“I think it is great; things are finally falling into place,” Willows said. “This is a symbol of who Trump associates with, the company he keeps.”
Though applauded the convictions he added he does not want to see this cause Trump’s removal from office.
“I would like to see Trump lose the office by running against someone in the next presidential election,” Willows said. “This is not necessarily the way to get Trump out of office.”
Trump tweeted words of support for Manafort, while chastising his former lawyer for taking a plea deal.
“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. [The Department of Justice] took a 12-year-old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ and make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”
Since Mueller took over the investigation into the 2016 Russian hacking scheme in May 2017: Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about two conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the administration’s transition into office; Manafort’s right-hand man Richard Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy and lying to federal agents; Trump’s former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contact with people who said they had ties to the Russian government for the purpose of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.
Mueller also obtained indictments against 12 Russian agents in connection with the cyber attacks during the 2016 election.
The New York Times News Service contributed to this report.