Jury Begins Third Day of Deliberations in Manafort Fraud Trial


The press surrounding the Alexandria-based federal courthouse of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia stirred into action when word spread the jury had delivered a note to Judge Ellis. "I imagine they would, too", he said when explaining why he doesn't intend to make jurors' names public at the end of the trial.

The judge in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's fraud trial refused Friday to release the names of jurors, saying he has received threats and fears for their safety as well.

In an indication that the six women and six men of the jury may not reach a verdict on August 17, they sent the judge a note asking that they be permitted to finish their work for the day at 5 p.m. because one juror has a social engagement.

Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing said Friday that his client's team "really appreciates the support of President Trump". Based on the reports I've read in the media, though, it seems fairly clear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has done a very good job of presenting a very strong case against Manafort, a case that is very document-intensive and which seems to leave little room for doubt about the fact that Manafort engaged in a scheme that lasted for years that was created to hide his income and to misrepresent his assets to financial institutions that continued even in the time he was working for the Trump campaign and his financial house of cards was collapsing around him. When you look at what's going on there, I think it's a very sad day for our country.

"He worked for me for a very short period of time". But you know what?

As the jury continued to consider their verdict on Friday, Mr Trump called Mr Manafort a "very good person".

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Neither case involves allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination by the Trump campaign, which are at the heart of Mueller's larger investigation. The jury will return Monday at 9:30 a.m.to begin a third day of deliberations on 18 counts, including tax and bank fraud and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Asked if he would pardon his former campaign chief if he is convicted of the charges which could send him to prison for the rest of his life, Trump declined to comment. The jury was not present when he made those remarks.

This was not the first time Trump commented on the trial.

The defense says prosecutors failed to prove their case.

The Special Counsel's Office opposed the requests for deadline extensions, because Manafort has known the DC trial date for nearly half a year and chose to split his criminal charges into the two separate trials.

President Trump's role - or lack thereof - in the case has been an issue from the outset. Prosecutors say he hid millions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service in overseas bank accounts and then lied to banks to obtain multimillion-dollar loans. On Thursday, the jury ended its first day of deliberations with a series of questions to the judge, including a request to "redefine" reasonable doubt.