Manafort juror says "one holdout" kept jury from convicting on all counts

Saturday, 25 Aug, 2018

A juror who participated in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, said just one holdout prevented the jury from convicting Manafort on all of the 18 federal charges he faced.

"It was one person who kept the verdict from being guilty on all 18 counts", Duncan, 52, said.

Trump also suggested that prosecutors had not been as aggressive in pursuing Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who was not charged following an FBI investigation of her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

In a Fox News interview late Wednesday night, Duncan, a self-described Trump supporter, became the first from the panel to speak out since Manafort's conviction Tuesday on eight of the fraud counts, with mistrials declared on the remaining 10.

"I thought that the public, America, needed to know how close this was and the evidence was overwhelming", Duncan said. She described a taxing and emotional deliberation process and said the discussions brought some jurors to tears. "Write in and tell us what grade you would give the President, here at Fox & Friends!" But Duncan said she was not anxious about her safety and thus made a decision to speak out.

"I don't think exercise of an explicit constitutional power can be part of any obstruction case - even if the reason for it is illicit or in other people's judgment wrong", said one Washington defense lawyer with experience with White House ethics cases.

Trump has repeatedly claimed he is the victim of a "witch hunt.' He touted Manafort as a 'brave man" while accusing Cohen of making up stories to get a deal.

And then, just hours later, you had Michael Cohen, Mr Trump's longtime personal fixer and personal lawyer, also plead guilty in a NY courtroom.

Giuliani said Trump agreed with him on this matter at the time.

"I think we all went in there, like we were supposed to and assumed Mr. Manafort was innocent".

Trump reportedly consulted his advisers weeks ago on whether to pardon Manafort, before he was convicted.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, Nov. 6, 2017.

Trump had previously criticized the prosecution of Manafort on charges unrelated to the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election interference, calling it a "hoax" in a tweet last month.

His former associate Rick Gates, who in February pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to investigators, co-operated with the investigation into Manafort.

While prosecutors proposed that the judge admonish the panel that they refrain from discussing the case until all the evidence was in, defense attorneys pushed for Ellis to intervene.

"It would be both a legal and a strategic error to pardon Paul Manafort, not to mention the potential political repercussions", professor Lisa Kern Griffin of the Duke University School of Law said.

Giuliani said Trump's concern for Manafort is what motivates him to consider a pardon.

He reprised a litany of complaints about the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, attacking both without providing evidence they had treated him and his supporters unfairly.