Manafort judge says he's received threats, won't name jurors

Paul Manafort Rick Gates

Jury in Paul Manafort trial poses questions about reasonable doubt

Prosecutors outlined schemes allegedly used by Manafort to avoid paying U.S. taxes on the millions of dollars he earned in Ukraine and then deposited in bank accounts in Cyprus.

The 12 jurors ended their second day of deliberations on August 17 without reaching a verdict.

In any case, while the prosecution put up what seems from a distance like a fairly strong case, the defense chose not to present any evidence or call any witnesses.

Yet as CNN legal analyst Paul Callan noted, Trump's very public comments about his former employee and campaign chair raise concerns about how politics can factor into the case and, in fact, if he had been anyone else other than the sitting president, he might have found himself in his own legal jeopardy.

Much of the money, the government alleges, came from Manafort's lobbying for deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was toppled in a popular 2014 uprising in Kyiv before fleeing to exile in Russian Federation. It's still possible that Manafort could be charged with state crimes, as long as they don't overlap with the federal charges he is now facing. He faces 18 felony counts on tax evasion and bank fraud. And sentencing guidelines are not binding on the judge.

There have been specific threats, Ellis said, although he declined to provide details. Writing for Washington Monthly, Atkins said that the words were really an attempt to convince the jury - which has not been sequestered and could have seen or heard Trump's words - to find Manafort not guilty of the charges.

Ellis instructed jurors to use their collective recollection for those two questions. The judge also rejected a motion by some news organizations to make public the names of the jurors, saying he was concerned about the jury's "peace and safety".

The defense says prosecutors failed to prove their case.

Paul Manafort (right) and his lawyer, Kevin Downing, arrive at the federal courthouse for a motion hearing./Victoria Pickering (Flickr).

The jurors' questions came after roughly seven hours of deliberation, delivered in a handwritten note to US District Judge T S Ellis III.

Jurors began their deliberations Thursday morning in the case against Manafort, who prosecutors say earned $60 million advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, hid much of it from the IRS and then lied to banks to get loans when the money dried up.

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump again called Mueller's investigation, which had cast a cloud over his presidency, a "rigged witch hunt", but sidestepped a question about whether he would issue a presidential pardon for Manafort. However, the president did describe what is happening to Manafort as "sad". Mr Manafort denied the allegation.

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