Jury Begins Third Day of Deliberations in Manafort Fraud Trial


The jury in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sent home for the weekend after concluding a second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

"You may deliberate as long or as little as you wish", U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III told the jurors on Friday morning before they resumed deliberations behind closed doors.

The 18-count indictment handed down on Manafort came amid special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian operatives.

Prosecutors say Manafort collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items. Then, when they Ukrainian money dried up, they say he lied on loan applications to maintain his cash flow.

Manafort's attorneys didn't call witnesses in his defence, claiming the prosecution had failed to meet its burden of proof. His attorneys attacked the credibility of a key witness, one-time Manafort protege Rick Gates.

Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case brought to trial by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election.

The jury ended its first day of deliberations with a series of questions to the judge.

The conversations lasted about 10 minutes each, and Ellis said transcripts will be made public at the end of the trial.

Wu said he still saw a chance of acquittals on the four counts of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, citing the jury's technical question on Thursday about the ownership and control threshold requirements for such disclosures.

Jurors asked if the judge could define the term "shelf company" and whether they could receive an updated exhibit list that would connect evidence to corresponding charges.

He said that he personally has received threats and is now under the protection of US marshals.

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. He declined to delve into specifics, but said he's been taken aback by the level of interest in the trial.