Manafort jury ends third day without a verdict

Manafort jury ends third day without a verdict
Posted at 6:26 AM, Aug 20, 2018

After three full days of deliberations, the jury in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort still has not returned a verdict.

Jurors will return Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case brought to trial 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.

Judge T.S. Ellis and both teams of lawyers met twice met Monday morning in private. The conversations lasted about 10 minutes each, and Ellis said transcripts will be made public at the end of the trial.

The trial carries major implications for the future of Mueller's 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.


While jurors have had the case to deliberate since Thursday morning, developments outside the jury room have added to the high-stakes nature of the trial as Trump continues to rail against Mueller and also defended Manafort.

"Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

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."

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

Also on Friday, Ellis said that he has received threats during the proceedings.

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 charges

"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."

Prosecutors say Manafort 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 allege 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 received loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors.

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."

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