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Saturday, 18 August 2018

Judge in Paul Manafort trial says he has been threatened and is now under US Marshal protection

  • Judge T.S. Ellis, the man presiding over the criminal trial of ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, said Friday that he has received threats about the case and now travels with protection from U.S. marshals.
  • Ellis, speaking at a hearing outside of jurors' presence, also said he has no plan to release the names of those 12 people now deliberating Manafort's fate because he is worried about their safety if their identities become publicly known.
  • The 12-person jury entered its second day of deliberations on Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, where Manafort is accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of bank fraud and tax crimes.
Former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort

Former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort
Judge T.S. Ellis, the man presiding over the criminal trial of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, said Friday that he has received threats about the case — and now travels with protection from the U.S. Marshal Service.
Speaking at a hearing outside of jurors' presence, Ellis also said he has no plan to release the names and home addresses of those 12 people now deliberating Manafort's fate because he is worried about their "peace and safety."
"I had no idea this case would excite these emotions, I can tell you that frankly," Ellis said, as jurors continued their second day of deliberations in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. "I don't feel right if I release their names."
"I have no reason to believe that if those names are unsealed there won't be threats against them," Ellis said of the jurors, who do not have protection by U.S. Marshals.
Media outlets including NBC News had requested the names and addresses of the jurors be unsealed.
They also were asking Ellis to unseal discussions Ellis had with prosecutors and defense lawyers outside of the earshot of others in court during Manafort's trial, where he is charged with bank fraud and tax crimes.
This Aug. 7, 2018 courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, testifying during questioning in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort at federal court in Alexandria, Va. The judge is T.S. Elliot III.
AP
This Aug. 7, 2018 courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, testifying during questioning in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort at federal court in Alexandria, Va. The judge is T.S. Elliot III.
Ellis said he will not release the transcript of one sidebar conference that relates to an ongoing investigation, but did say that after the trial ends he will unseal transcripts related to the administration of the jury.
Manafort is being prosecuted by members of the team of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller is investigating possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump in the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible collusion by members of Trump's campaign with that Kremlin-backed effort.
Trump has adamantly denied any wrongdoing.
The case against Manafort relates to income he earned while working for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, before he became involved in the Trump campaign. Manafort is also accused of lying to banks in requests for loans, which prosecutors claim he obtained to continue funding his lavish lifestyle after income from the Ukrainian party dried up.
Shortly after Ellis said he would not disclose their names, jurors sent out a note to the judge, asking to be allowed to end their deliberations at 5 p.m., because one of the jurors has a social engagement.
Ellis plans to reconvene court at 4:50 p.m. to ask jurors what time they want to resume deliberations Monday.

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