Trump defends ex-aide Manafort as jury considers verdict
By Nathan Layne and Karen Freifeld
Alexandria escorts, Va. (Reuters) – Weighing in even as a Virginia GFE Escort jury deliberates for a 2nd working day, President Donald Trump on Friday named the financial institution and tax fraud demo of his previous campaign chairman Paul Manafort “very sad” and described the defendant a “incredibly good particular person.”
Manafort’s demo in federal court in Alexandria escorts is the first stemming from Distinctive Counsel Robert Mueller’s 15-thirty day period-outdated investigation of Russia’s position in the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump has named Mueller’s investigation, which experienced forged a cloud above his presidency, a “rigged witch hunt.”
“I consider the total Manafort trial is really sad, when you seem at what’s going on there. I consider it is a quite sad day for our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“He worked for me for a pretty quick period of time of time. But you know what? He happens to be a incredibly excellent human being. And I assume it is really unfortunate what they have performed to Paul Manafort.”
Trump designed his reviews even though the jury of six women of all ages and six adult men ended up deliberating guiding shut doors on Friday early morning. The jurors satisfied for about 7 hours on Thursday without achieving a verdict on 18 criminal counts Manafort is billed with.
The charges mainly predate Manafort’s five months doing work on Trump’s marketing campaign all through a pivotal period of time in the 2016 presidential race, including a few months as marketing campaign chairman.
Manafort, 69, faces 5 counts of filing wrong tax returns, four counts of failing to disclose his offshore financial institution accounts and 9 counts of lender fraud. If convicted on all counts, he could invest the rest of his lifetime in jail.
Jurors in the trial are not sequestered but have been instructed not to look at news reports or converse to others about the matter.
“I imagine we are optimistic the scenario may well conclusion shortly with some type of verdict,” Choose T.S. Ellis explained in open up courtroom soon after the jury resumed deliberations on Friday morning.
The decide created the remark ahead of telling spectators including journalists that he did not want them functioning out of the courtroom while the jury announces its verdict on the different counts. He did not indicate he experienced inside of know-how of their deliberations.
The jury, deliberating in a area at the federal courthouse in Alexandria escorts, despatched a take note on Thursday afternoon asking Ellis four concerns which includes 1 about defining “sensible question.” In a criminal situation, a jury have to uncover a defendant guilty “over and above a fair question.”
The query suggested 1 or additional jurors may possibly be grappling with no matter if prosecutors satisfied this normal of evidence on particular counts.
“The point that they are sending questions on affordable doubt tells me that the group is divided,” jury consultant Alexandra Rudolph explained. “There is at minimum one particular juror who has not made the decision the scenario and who is not convinced.”
Although the normal rule is that juries access verdicts on Friday to prevent owning to return just after a weekend, Rudolph explained she believed it was probable these deliberations will carry more than into early up coming week.
The jurors also requested Ellis about when another person will have to disclose a foreign financial institution account to the Treasury Department, about the definition of a “shelf enterprise” – an inactive corporation frequently bought to persons aiming to bypass the registration process – and about the exhibit listing.
Prosecutors accused Manafort of hiding from U.S. tax authorities $16 million in income he earned as a political specialist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine to fund an opulent way of living and then lying to banking institutions to protected $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian profits dried up and he required money.
The choose explained he acquired a movement Thursday night time from a group of information companies in search of to unseal components of the proceedings that he experienced kept from starting to be public. Ellis reported he would make it possible for lawyers for the media shops to argue the movement on Friday afternoon.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne and Karen Freifeld Further reporting by Ginger Gibson Writing by Will Dunham Enhancing by Alistair Bell)