Manafort Judge Says He's Received Threats, Fears For Jurors' Safety

Monday, 20 Aug, 2018

"I think it's a very sad day for our country", he said.

Manafort, who worked for a short time as President Trump's campaign chairman during the 2016 presidential election, has been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with various financial crimes, none of which have anything to do with Trump or the campaign. But, you know what, he happens to be a very good person.

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

The judge presiding over the fraud trial of former Trump campaign Paul Manafort says he won't release the names of jurors at the trial's conclusion because he fears for their safety and because he himself has received threats.

The jury, deliberating in a room at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, sent a note on Thursday afternoon asking Ellis four questions including one about defining "reasonable doubt".

Judge T.S. Ellis made the remarks Friday, saying the jury may be receiving threats and refused to release the names of the 12 jurors.

"I had no idea this case would excite these emotions ..." If convicted on all the charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Government says Mr Manafort hid at least $US16 million ($22 million) in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014.

A Washington Post court reporter, Tamer El-Ghobashy, confirmed that coming to jurors' homes to interview them is the goal behind his outlet's request.

Ellis said that he was shocked there was so much interest in the case. The jury will return Monday at 9:30 begin a third day of deliberations on 18 counts, including tax and bank fraud and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Why would Trump comment on the ongoing trial?

Manafort is now waiting for a jury to return a verdict in a financial crimes trial that could send him to jail for the rest of his life.

Manafort was forced to step down from the Trump campaign when questions emerged about his work for Yanukovych.

"I can tell you there have been [threats]". The jury also asked about the definition of a shelf company.

The jury ended its first day of deliberations with a series of questions to the judge, including a request to "redefine" reasonable doubt.

The verdict could have major political consequences for Mueller's probe into whether Trump's campaign helped Russian Federation interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Many legal analysts wonder if Manafort will eventually enter into an agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's investigation as a means to reduce charges or to minimize a potential sentencing that he may have to eventually face. He said some of the sealed material involved "the court's administration of the jury in this case" and would be unsealed when the trial ends.