Manafort judge says he fears for jurors' safety

2018-08-18 11:25

Alexandria - The judge in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial says he has received threats and he fears for the "peace and safety" of the jurors deciding the fate of the former Trump campaign chairperson.

US District Judge TS Ellis III revealed his concerns on Friday when explaining why he doesn't intend to make jurors' names public at the end of the trial. Jury lists are presumed to be public unless a judge articulates a reason for keeping them secret.

"I've received criticism and threats," Ellis said. "I imagine they would, too."

The judge said he is currently under the protection of US marshals.

Jurors ended their second day of deliberations on Friday a half-hour early, without reaching a verdict. They sent a note to the judge asking to wrap up at 17:00 instead of 17:30 because a juror had an event to attend. They return on Monday morning.

The financial fraud trial is the first courtroom test of the Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. And while the case doesn't involve allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination by the Trump campaign, it has been closely watched by President Donald Trump as he seeks to publicly undermine Mueller's probe.

On Friday, Trump issued a fresh defense of Manafort and called him a "very good person".

"I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"When you look at what's going on, I think it's a very sad day for our country," he said. "He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."

Manafort is accused of hiding from the IRS millions that he made advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, and then lying to banks to get loans when the money dried up. He faces 18 felony counts on tax evasion and bank fraud.

The case calls on the dozen jurors to follow the complexities of foreign bank accounts and shell companies, loan regulations and tax rules. It exposed details about the lavish lifestyle of the onetime political insider, including a $15 000 jacket made of ostrich leather and $900 000 spent at a boutique retailer in New York via international wire transfer.

Manafort's defense says he wasn't culpable because he left the particulars of his finances to others. His attorneys told jurors to question the prosecution's case as they sought to tarnish the credibility of Manafort's longtime protege Rick Gates, who was the government's star witness.

Prosecutors say Manafort earned some $60m consulting for the Russia-backed political party in Ukraine, and hid at least $16m in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014. They say Manafort declared only some of his foreign income on his federal income tax returns and repeatedly failed to disclose millions of dollars that streamed into the US to pay for luxury items, services and property.


Read more on:    donald trump  |  paul manafort  |  us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.