Judge in Manafort trial says he's been threatened more than case
Jurors in the trial of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had been sent home for the weekend, as the judge in the fraud trial revealed Friday he has received threats over the case and now travels with U.S. Marshals.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, in rejecting a motion to release juror details to the media, argued that he’s confident the jurors would be threatened as effectively if their info had been to be made public.
&ldquoI can inform you there have been [threats]. … I don’t really feel right if I release their names,&rdquo he stated, adding that due to the fact of threats against him, &ldquoThe Marshals go exactly where I go.&rdquo
The startling revelation came as the jury completed its second day of deliberations with no a verdict. The jury will reconvene Monday.
Ellis, a famously prickly judge identified for his colorful comments, has attracted considerable consideration during the Manafort trial for his frequent sparring with the attorneys — especially those on Particular Counsel Robert Mueller’s group.
Earlier Friday morning, Ellis acknowledged facing pushback about how he&rsquos handled this case. He told attorneys &ldquoI&rsquom no stranger to criticism,&rdquo but said &ldquothis case has brought it to a new level.&rdquo
The juror motion itself was filed by multiple news organizations &ndash the Washington Post, New York Occasions, AP, CNN, NBC, Politico and BuzzFeed. They sought to unseal records in the case, such as info about the jurors.
Rejecting the request about the jury, Ellis stated &ldquoto [grant it] would develop a risk of harm to them.&rdquo
The judge also denied a motion to unseal all the bench conferences and sidebars, which have been sealed. Ellis said all that will be released to the public at the end of the trial.
Soon after a trial spanning practically three weeks, Manafort, 69, is awaiting a verdict on 18 tax evasion and bank fraud charges.
He has been accused of hiding income earned from his Ukrainian political function from the IRS. He&rsquos also accused of fraudulently acquiring millions in bank loans.
&ldquoThe Marshals go where I go."
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Considering that the jury started deliberating Thursday, the defense has been expressing increasing confidence about its chances. Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorneny, told reporters he sees the continued deliberations as "a wonderful sign for the defense."
He echoed these remarks following the jury sent Ellis a note Friday asking to end deliberations for the day simply because 1 juror has an event.
On Thursday, Ellis study aloud one more note detailing 4 queries from the jury, which covered foreign financial accounts, shelf companies, the definition of reasonable doubt and other evidence in the case.
In closing arguments this week, prosecutor Greg Andres told the jury, "The government asks you to return the only verdict that is consistent with the proof, which is guilty on all charges."
It takes a unanimous guilty verdict from all 12 jurors to convict on every single count.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.
Published at Fri, 17 Aug 2018 22:00:00 +0000