Jury begins 3rd day of deliberations in Manafort fraud trial
21 August, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Essie Rivera
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Jury deliberations have resumed in the financial fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
On Friday afternoon the jury of six men and six women sent the judge a note asking that they be permitted to finish their work for the day because one juror had a social engagement.
Monday marks the third day that jurors ponder the 18-count indictment.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors said Manafort hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts in order to avoid paying US taxes. Then, when they Ukrainian money dried up, they say he lied on loan applications to maintain his cash flow.
Manafort's attorneys didn't call witnesses in his defense, claiming the prosecution had failed to meet its burden of proof.
It also worked to discredit the key prosecution witness in the case, Trump's former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, who had already pleaded guilty to helping hide millions in income from USA tax authorities.
Ellis reaffirmed Monday that he would be releasing transcripts of bench conferences involving prosecutors and defense attorneys when the case was finished, with the exception of the jurors' names and a conference that touched on Russian Federation special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into election interference.
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The verdict, in the hands of 12 jurors, will provide a measure of the special counsel's ability to make charges stick.
On Thursday, the jury asked for a definition of "reasonable doubt" and clarification on the law governing the reporting of foreign bank accounts but did not ask any similar questions on Friday.
However, the trial "might end soon", Ellis told reporters later.
Gates was also forced to admit having an extramarital affair.
A coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, filed a motion requesting the names of jurors after the trial, as well as access to sealed transcripts of bench conferences that have occurred during the three-week trial.
Also on Friday, Ellis said that he has received threats during the proceedings. "I'd imagine they would too", Ellis said, adding that United States marshals accompany him everywhere, including an unnamed hotel where he's staying, but jurors don't have that protection.
However, some legal experts expressed concern that comments by Trump on Friday calling the trial of Manafort "very sad" and lauding him as a "very good person" might still be viewed - inadvertently or otherwise - by jurors over the weekend. He declined to delve into specifics, but said he's been taken aback by the level of interest in the trial.
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