Paul Manafort trial: jury breaks for weekend with no verdict, deliberations to resume Monday

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The trial case against Paul Manafort over money laundering and tax evasion has entered jury deliberations. Kevin Johnson reports from Alexandria, Va.
USA TODAY

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The jury in the tax and bank fraud trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, headed home for the weekend without reaching a verdict. The panel will reconvene Monday.

A juror sent a note to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III requesting a 5 p.m. recess because of a previously scheduled “event.” The nature of the event was not disclosed. Ellis approved the request.

Earlier on Friday, the judge said he was “optimistic that the case might end soon.”

On Thursday, jurors deliberated for more than six hours and recessed after submitting four questions to Ellis, including a request for a redefinition of “reasonable doubt.”

The panel must determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict Manafort on the 18 counts of tax and bank fraud lodged against him.

Separately, Ellis raised eyebrows Friday when he revealed that he had received unspecified threats during the trial and is under the protection of U.S. marshals. The judge made the disclosure during a separate hearing in which a coalition of news organizations sought the identities of jurors serving in the Manafort case.

Because of the intense public interest in the case and the emotion it has generated–including the threats against the 78-year-old jurist – Ellis said he would refuse to release the jurors’ identities, at least for now.

The news organizations also appealed for the release of transcripts of secret bench conferences during the case involving prosecutors and Manafort’s attorneys. Ellis said many of those transcripts, with the exception of a discussion about the ongoing investigation by Russia special counsel Robert Mueller, would be made public at the end of the trial.

Some of the matters, Ellis acknowledged Friday, involved unspecified issues related to the jury.

More: Manafort trial: Jury asks judge to redefine ‘reasonable doubt’ during first day of deliberations

More: Manafort trial: Why ‘reasonable doubt’ is hard to define in courtrooms

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have huddled privately numerous times throughout the trial, and only rarely have the contents of those meetings been disclosed.

 

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epa06951198 Kevin Downing (L), Jay Nanavati (2-L), Richard Westing (C), Thomas Zehnle (2-R) and Brian Ketcham (L), attorneys representing former US Predisent Donald J. Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrive to US District Court for the ongoing Manafort trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 15 August 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.  EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW ORG XMIT: STX01This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates on the witness stand as he is cross examined by defense lawyer Kevin Downing during the trial of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on bank fraud and tax evasion at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. U.S. District court Judge T.S. Ellis III presides. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV207Jay Nanavati, right, one of the lawyers for former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, leaves federal court after attending the Manafort trial in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ORG XMIT: VAJM119This courtroom sketch depicts former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, left, listening with his lawyer Kevin Downing to testimony from government witness Rick Gates as Manafort's trial continues at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV204This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, answering questions by prosecutor Greg Andres as he testifies in the trial of Paul Manafort, seated second from left, at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. U.S. district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides as Manafort attorney's including Kevin Downing, left, Thomas Zehnle, third from left, listen. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV101This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, answering questions by prosecutor Greg Andres as he testifies in the trial of Paul Manafort, seated second from left, at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Aug. 6, 2018. U.S. district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides as Manafort attorney’s including Kevin Downing, left, Thomas Zehnle, third from left, listen. Dana Verkouteren, APTax preparer Cindy Laporta leaves the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in, Alexandria, Va., Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, on day four of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's tax evasion and bank fraud trial. One of Manafort's tax preparers admitted Friday that she helped disguise $900,000 in foreign income as a loan in order to reduce the former Trump campaign chairman's tax burden. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ORG XMIT: VAAH101ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02:  Heather Washkuhn (L), managing director of the accounting firm Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein  Bolno, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to testify in the Paul Manafort trial August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775202298 ORIG FILE ID: 1009712332ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 01:  Kathleen Manafort (2nd L), wife of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse for the second day of Manafort's trial August 1, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775202298 ORIG FILE ID: 1008919606This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, seated right row second from right, together with his lawyers, the jury, seated left, and the U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, back center, listening to Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye, standing, during opening arguments in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Manafort's on tax evasion and bank fraud charges. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV302This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, seated right row second from right, together with his lawyers, the jury, seated left, and the U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, back center, listening to Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye, standing, during opening arguments in the trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Manafort’s on tax evasion and bank fraud charges on July 31, 2018. Dana Verkouteren, APALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31:  Activists hold signs during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775183652 ORIG FILE ID: 1008248350epa06920339 Journalists and members of the public wait to enter the US District Court before the first day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 31 July 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO ORG XMIT: JJL01Paul Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing (C) is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Albert V. Bryan US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia on July 31, 20187, for the opening of the jury selection for the Paul Manafort trial.Donald Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort on July 31, 2018 becomes the first member of the president's election team to face trial on charges stemming from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 vote. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying activities on behalf of the former Russian-backed government of Ukraine. / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: Former Tr ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1816LRepa06920162 Protestors await the start of the first day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 31 July 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO ORG XMIT: JJL01epa06920325 Jay Nanavati (front L) and Richard Westling (R), attorneys representing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, walks into the US District Court before the first day of Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 31 July 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud. Others are not identified.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO ORG XMIT: JJL01Linda Schierow, from left, and Nancy Bundy, join other protesters outside the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, July 31, 2018, on day one of Paul Manafort's trial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: VAMC102Security personnel from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, watch the vicinity around the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Va., on day one of Paul Manafort's trial, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: VAMC101Protesters hold their banners in front of the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, July 31, 2018, on day one of Paul Manafort's trial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: VAMC105

  • epa06951198 Kevin Downing (L), Jay Nanavati (2-L), Richard Westing (C), Thomas Zehnle (2-R) and Brian Ketcham (L), attorneys representing former US Predisent Donald J. Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrive to US District Court for the ongoing Manafort trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 15 August 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.  EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW ORG XMIT: STX011 of 17
  • This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates on the witness stand as he is cross examined by defense lawyer Kevin Downing during the trial of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on bank fraud and tax evasion at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. U.S. District court Judge T.S. Ellis III presides. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV2072 of 17
  • Jay Nanavati, right, one of the lawyers for former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, leaves federal court after attending the Manafort trial in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ORG XMIT: VAJM1193 of 17
  • This courtroom sketch depicts former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, left, listening with his lawyer Kevin Downing to testimony from government witness Rick Gates as Manafort's trial continues at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV2044 of 17
  • This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, answering questions by prosecutor Greg Andres as he testifies in the trial of Paul Manafort, seated second from left, at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. U.S. district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides as Manafort attorney's including Kevin Downing, left, Thomas Zehnle, third from left, listen. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV1015 of 17
  • Tax preparer Cindy Laporta leaves the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in, Alexandria, Va., Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, on day four of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's tax evasion and bank fraud trial. One of Manafort's tax preparers admitted Friday that she helped disguise $900,000 in foreign income as a loan in order to reduce the former Trump campaign chairman's tax burden. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ORG XMIT: VAAH1016 of 17
  • ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02:  Heather Washkuhn (L), managing director of the accounting firm Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein  Bolno, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to testify in the Paul Manafort trial August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775202298 ORIG FILE ID: 10097123327 of 17
  • ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 01:  Kathleen Manafort (2nd L), wife of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse for the second day of Manafort's trial August 1, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775202298 ORIG FILE ID: 10089196068 of 17
  • This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, seated right row second from right, together with his lawyers, the jury, seated left, and the U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, back center, listening to Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye, standing, during opening arguments in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Manafort's on tax evasion and bank fraud charges. (Dana Verkouteren via AP) ORG XMIT: VADV3029 of 17
  • ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31:  Activists hold signs during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775183652 ORIG FILE ID: 100824835010 of 17
  • epa06920339 Journalists and members of the public wait to enter the US District Court before the first day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 31 July 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO ORG XMIT: JJL0111 of 17
  • Paul Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing (C) is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Albert V. Bryan US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia on July 31, 20187, for the opening of the jury selection for the Paul Manafort trial.Donald Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort on July 31, 2018 becomes the first member of the president's election team to face trial on charges stemming from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 vote. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying activities on behalf of the former Russian-backed government of Ukraine. / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: Former Tr ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1816LR12 of 17
  • epa06920162 Protestors await the start of the first day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 31 July 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO ORG XMIT: JJL0113 of 17
  • epa06920325 Jay Nanavati (front L) and Richard Westling (R), attorneys representing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, walks into the US District Court before the first day of Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 31 July 2018. Manafort is facing over a dozen charges including tax evasion and bank fraud. Others are not identified.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO ORG XMIT: JJL0114 of 17
  • Linda Schierow, from left, and Nancy Bundy, join other protesters outside the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, July 31, 2018, on day one of Paul Manafort's trial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: VAMC10215 of 17
  • Security personnel from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, watch the vicinity around the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Va., on day one of Paul Manafort's trial, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: VAMC10116 of 17
  • Protesters hold their banners in front of the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, July 31, 2018, on day one of Paul Manafort's trial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ORG XMIT: VAMC10517 of 17

Five key points that could sway the jury in Paul Manafort’s trial — and determine his fate

More: Paul Manafort trial: Judge T.S. Ellis III known as taskmaster, unafraid to speak his mind

Manafort is facing life in prison if he’s found guilty on all of the 18 counts laid against him. The harshest sentence is likely if he’s found guilty in the alleged bank fraud scheme prosecutors outlined during the trial. 

Prosecutors offered documents and witnesses who testified that Manafort lied about his income and debt while seeking bank loans and directed his associates to doctor documents. In all, prosecutors have alleged that Manafort fraudulently secured more than $20 million in bank loans.

As President Trump was leaving the White House Friday and while jurors were still deliberating, the president attacked the Manafort trial and called it “very sad.” He wouldn’t discuss whether he’d consider pardoning Manafort if he was found guilty on any counts. 

“When you look at what’s going on there, I think it’s a very sad day for our country,” the president said. “He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what?  He happens to be a very good person. 

Trump added: “And I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”

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President Donald Trump refused to say whether he would pardon Paul Manafort, calling him a “very good person” as he left the White House for New York. Trump also again called out Turkey, saying the country has been a “problem for a long time.” (Aug. 17)
AP

 

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