Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Manafort judge says he fears for jurors' safety

Microphones are set up in front of the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse as the jury begins deliberation in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort Manafort judge says he fears for jurors' safety
Melinda Barton | 20 August, 2018, 04:47

Among the questions they have since sent to the judge was a request to define "reasonable doubt".

"I had no idea this case would excite these emotions, quite frankly", Ellis said. They are anxious that the jury, having heard the evidence, may not render the "right" verdict, i.e., the one that helps the Democratic Party.

The federal judge presiding over Paul Manafort's tax-evasion case confirmed Friday that he has received multiple death threats since the beginning of the trial; adding he now travels with US Marshals to ensure his safety.

Judge Ellis said he understood why the press wanted jurors' personal information.

The federal prosecutors handling the fraud case against Paul Manafort spent two weeks laying out their case before the jury.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.

Manafort, 69, faces five counts of filing false tax returns, four counts of failing to disclose his offshore bank accounts and nine counts of bank fraud. "I think it is a very sad day for our country". He was Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016.

Ellis explained that one aspect of the transcripts will remain sealed so as not to interfere with Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian officials to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton.

It exposed details about the lavish lifestyle of the onetime political insider, including a $US15,000 ($20,660) jacket made of ostrich leather and $US900,000 ($1.2 million) spent at a boutique retailer in NY via worldwide wire transfer. "The government is not required to prove the defendant guilty beyond all possible doubt, only beyond all reasonable doubt".

The questions came after roughly seven hours of deliberation, delivered in a handwritten note to Ellis.

At the White House, when asked about whether he would pardon Manafort, President Trump didn't rule it out.

Judge Ellis told jurors to rely on their collective recollection based on testimony to answer those questions.

The Point: For all parties, then, there is a lot riding on what 12 people in a court in Alexandria, Virginia, decide about the fate of Paul Manafort.

Manafort's defence countered that he wasn't culpable because he left the particulars of his finances to others.

"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.

The prosecution's key witness was Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates, who admitted to have defrauded Manafort.