Jury to weigh ex-Trump aide Manafort's
fate for third day
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[August 20, 2018]
By Nathan Layne and Karen Freifeld
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) - The jury in the
trial of Paul Manafort will deliberate for a third day on Monday about
whether to convict the former Trump campaign chairman of up to 18
criminal charges related to bank and tax fraud and his failure to
disclose overseas bank accounts.
The 12 jurors concluded their discussions on Friday without sending any
notes to the judge other than saying when they would go home, one day
after they asked for a definition of "reasonable doubt" and
clarification on the law governing the reporting of foreign bank
Shanlon Wu, who represented Manafortís former protege Rick Gates before
he pleaded guilty in February and cooperated with the prosecution, said
the lack of questions on Friday might bode better for the prosecution
than the defense.
"The fact that they were quiet on Friday indicated that they were
working hard and working well together, and there was no dissension,"
said Wu, who is no longer involved in the case and said he was speaking
from knowledge of the publicly available evidence. "I think that's a
good sign for the prosecution."
Wu said he still saw a chance of acquittals on the four counts of
failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, citing the jury's technical
question on Thursday about the ownership and control threshold
requirements for such disclosures.
The jury is scheduled to resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the
federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The trial is the first stemming
from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's meddling
in the 2016 U.S. election.
Before dismissing them on Friday, Judge T.S. Ellis reminded the jurors,
who are not sequestered, to refrain from discussing the case or
investigating it on their own over the weekend. "Put it out of your mind
until Monday," Ellis told them.
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Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is shown in this booking
photo in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 12, 2018. Alexandria
Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS/ File Photo
However, some legal experts expressed concern that comments by Trump on
Friday calling the trial of Manafort "very sad" and lauding him as a
"very good person" might still be viewed - inadvertently or otherwise -
by jurors over the weekend.
Another headline on Friday that might grab the attention of jurors:
Ellis disclosing that he personally had received threats related to the
trial and was being protected by U.S. marshals. The jury was not present
when he made those remarks.
"In a high profile case, the general assumption is that some outside
information may accidentally reach a jury, despite jurors' best efforts
to avoid relevant news," said jury consultant Roy Futterman.
"Given the judge's statement, the jurors may reasonably assume that they
may be at some risk which may change the tenor of their deliberations,
perhaps raising tensions or speeding things up."
(Reporting by Nathan Layne and Karen Freifeld in Alexandria, Virginia;
Editing by Dan Grebler)
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