Manafort jury to resume deliberations Monday; Trump calls trial 'very sad'

The jury in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort ended a second straight day of deliber...

Posted: Aug 19, 2018 10:44 AM
Updated: Aug 19, 2018 10:44 AM

The jury in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort ended a second straight day of deliberations without a verdict and will return Monday morning, as President Donald Trump on Friday called Manafort a "very good person" and the trial "very sad."

"I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad. ... I think it's a very sad day for our country," the President said at the White House. "He happens to be a very good person, and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."

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T S Ellis

Manafort's defense attorney Kevin Downing told reporters they "really appreciate the support of President Trump."

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

Manafort is charged with 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 US election. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The trial carries major implications for the future of the Mueller investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the probe a "witch hunt" that hasn't found evidence of Russian collusion with his campaign, and his allies in and out of the White House say the special counsel should wrap things up.

A Manafort conviction would allow Democrats and Mueller's supporters to say ending the investigation would be premature. It could also boost Mueller's position as he negotiates with Trump's lawyers over a potential interview.

Threats against judge

Ellis did not disclose details about the threats he had received. But he said they were enough to make him wary of making the names of the 12 jurors and four alternates public, in response to a request from media organizations.

"I've received criticism and threats. I'd imagine they would too," Ellis said, adding that US marshals accompany him everywhere, including an unnamed hotel where he's staying, but jurors don't have that protection.

The ruling is not a gag order, and jurors will be free to make individual decisions after the trial about whether to speak to the media.

Ellis does plan to make public all bench conferences currently under seal with one exception -- likely the part of the trial where the special counsel's office discussed its ongoing investigation.

"A thirsty press is essential in a free country," Ellis said.

The charges

The trial has not touched on Russia or the 2016 election. Instead, the focus has been entirely on Manafort's finances.

Prosecutors said Manafort had collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.

They also alleged that Manafort had lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015, and they accused him of hiding the foreign bank accounts from federal authorities. Manafort also was charged with receiving loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors.

"Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and he lied to get more money when he didn't," prosecutor Greg Andres told jurors during closing arguments. "This is a case about lies."

Defense attorney Richard Westling said Manafort became the special counsel's victim in a "selective process of pulling" his financial records to concoct a narrative of an "elaborate fraud scheme." (Ellis later instructed the jury not to consider such characterizations of Mueller's team's motives.)

Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
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Union337457
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Lincoln293385
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Tate266659
Alcorn260651
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Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
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Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
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Lee12261101
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Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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