Manafort jury ends first day of deliberations with questions

Cheryl Sanders
August 18, 2018

Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, is now facing 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and secret foreign bank accounts after being charged by special counsel Robert Mueller in his ongoing investigation into Russian collusion. "So, overall a very good day for Mr. Manafort".

"In some cases, juries reach quick decisions on almost all the charges but take a long time to decide what to do with a final charge or two that they think may not have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt", Abramson said.

After noting that the one wildcard in the Manafort case is politics, Callan said that as a prosecutor he would worry "if there is somebody on that jury that is a diehard Trump fan you have the President of the United States making comments".

After a full day Thursday, the jury hadn't yet reached a verdict on the 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

The jury was excused for the day and is to return Friday to continue deliberations. The judge read the note aloud in court.

On Thursday, Ellis invited others in the courtroom to remain while the jury deliberated and other cases were heard. Prosecutors say he hid millions of dollars from the IRS in overseas bank accounts and then lied to banks to obtain multimillion dollar loans.

Jurors asked the judge Thursday to redefine "reasonable doubt" for them.

Ellis, a famously prickly judge known for his colorful comments, has attracted considerable attention during the Manafort trial for his frequent sparring with the attorneys - particularly those on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Judge TS Ellis III said he is under the protection of US Marshals and is concerned for the "peace and safety of the jurors" during a hearing on Friday. While allegations of collusion are still being investigated, evidence of bank fraud and tax evasion unearthed during the probe has cast doubt on the integrity of Trump's closest advisers during the campaign.

A number of media outlets had earlier requested the names of jurors.

"We should not take anything about the current length of the deliberations to suggest that Manafort will or will not be convicted on all or most of the charges he faces", Abramson said.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Ellis basically reiterated the instructions the jury had already received.

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