Manafort judge to hold hearing on unsealing juror's names

Jurors in Manafort trial send judge 4 questions, including asking him to redefine reasonable doubt

Jury in Paul Manafort trial poses questions about reasonable doubt

Speaking to reporters on Friday in the White House lawn, Trump called the whole trial "sad".

"I'm going to do that, maybe five minutes before", Ellis said Friday afternoon, shortly before dismissing the jurors.

Trump seems to be setting up to pardon his former campaign manager by saying "he's a good man, he's getting a bad deal".

"I think we are optimistic the case might end soon with some sort of verdict", Judge T.S. Ellis said in open court after the jury resumed deliberations on Friday morning.

Trump again denounced the Mueller probe on Friday, calling it a "witch hunt", and - in an extraordinary commentary by a sitting president about an ongoing trial - weighed in on the Manafort case.

Manafort faces 18 criminal charges that include tax evasion, failing to report foreign bank accounts, bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.

Ellis said that he was shocked there was so much interest in the case. If convicted on all counts, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The question suggested one or more jurors may be grappling with whether prosecutors met this standard of proof on certain counts.

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This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers in front of USA district Judge T.S Ellis III, and the jury during the jury selection of his trial in Alexandria, Va., July 31, 2018.

Manafort also filed false statements to obtain millions of dollars in loans from banks when his Ukraine consulting fees dried up, according to prosecutors.

So they want to know who the jurors are so they can apply pressure on them through mob action, newspaper denunciations, online harassment and so on.

Prosecutors said Mr Manafort declared only some of his foreign income on his federal income tax returns and repeatedly failed to disclose millions of dollars that streamed into the USA to pay for luxury items, services and property. The note only asked Ellis if the jury could complete their work at 5:00 order to accomodate an important event one of the 12 jurors wished to attend.

Manafort is the first person to be tried as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

The star of the prosecution's case, of course, was Richard Gates, who was a longtime aide to Manafort, worked together with him on the Trump campaign, and was also closely involved with Manafort's financial schemes.

Two of the questions - when a person is required to file a foreign banking disclosure and the definition of "shelf" companies - related to tax and banking disclosures from memorable moments in witness testimony during the trial.

As president, Trump has the power to pardon Manafort on the federal charges. On Thursday, the jury ended its first day of deliberations with a series of questions to the judge, including a request to "redefine" reasonable doubt.

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