Manafort Trial Likely to Go Into Next Week

Pauline Gross
August 20, 2018

Ellis made the announcement during an audience at a federal court while the jury was deliberating for a second day on Manafort's 18 charges of tax and banking fraud.

In a note to the judge that said it wanted to go home at 5:30 p.m. (2130 GMT), the jury asked for a definition of "reasonable doubt".

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 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.

The case is the first to go to trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 USA election, although the charges largely predate Manafort's five months working on Donald Trump's campaign. He has also complained about Manafort's supposed "unfair" treatment by prosecutors. They will return to deliberations on August 20. And sentencing guidelines are not binding on the judge. Prosecutors preferred to bring all the charges in the District of Columbia, where their investigation is based and where all other defendants have been charged.

There have been specific threats, Ellis said, although he declined to provide details.

This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, testifying during questioning by prosecutor Greg Andres, standing at left, as Manafort's trial continues at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Aug. 7, 2018.

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Trump has made previous comments criticizing various federal judges and courts and has been harshly critical of Mueller, a former FBI director who is investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation, an allegation the president and Moscow deny.

The judge on Friday also rejected a motion by some news organizations to make the names of the jurors public, saying he was concerned about the jury's "peace and safety". Eastern time that they be allowed to leave so one of them could attend "an event", Judge T.S. Ellis III said. Manafort is due to face another criminal trial in neighboring Washington, DC, shortly after the conclusion of this trial.

Also on Friday, Judge T.S. Ellis announced that he has received threats during the proceedings.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing was pleased with the question.

Ellis said that he had not anticipated the intense public interest in the case and the emotion surrounding it before the former Trump campaign manager's trial began more than two weeks ago. However, the president did describe what is happening to Manafort as "sad".

Other reports by GizPress

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