Judge in Manafort trial says he's been threatened over case


The judge in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says he has received threats.

Trump said Friday at the White House that it was "a very sad day for our country".

One former Justice Department prosecutor who has tried similar cases told Roll Call the general rule of thumb for a favorable timeline for jury deliberation is one day per week of trial proceedings.

"I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort", he added.

"I had no idea this case would incite this emotion", U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said in an open court hearing, responding to a motion from seven news organizations, including POLITICO, seeking access to sealed materials related to the trial that would have publicly identified the jurors.

Not only are prosecutors trying Manafort for 18 counts - an unusually high total - but their case involves complex tax and bank loan laws.

Outside the courtroom, Manafort's lead defense attorney Kevin Downing said he's pleased to see the jury is taking their time and that he thinks a long deliberation plays in his client's favor. Ellis said he would allow lawyers for the media outlets to argue the motion on Friday afternoon.

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Judge Ellis told the jurors they needed to rely on their collective memory of the evidence to answer most questions.

One question asked for a redefinition of "reasonable doubt". He said if jurors' names were exposed they would be threatened as well, and for their "peace and safety", he would not release their names.

Prosecutors contend Manafort was paid millions of dollars for consulting work for Ukraine's former president, putting money in secret offshore accounts and hiding income from the IRS.

Manafort's defense says he wasn't culpable because he left the particulars of his finances to others.

"I think it's all a good sign, yes", he said.

The jury also requested that the judge redefine "reasonable doubt". Jury lists are considered to be public unless a judge bans any access to them. The charges stem from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's sprawling investigation into Russian Federation meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Unlike CNN's request, Ellis granted this, meaning the jury will not return to their deliberations until Monday. In a criminal case, a jury must find a defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt".