Paul Manafort trial: Jury unable to reach a verdict on 10 of 18 counts

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The jury in the financial fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort sent a second note to the court late Tuesday afternoon, informing the judge that there are 10 counts the jury cannot reach a verdict on. Judge T.S. Ellis III has decided there is “manifest necessity” to proceed and a verdict will be reached shortly on 8 of the counts. Judge Ellis will accept a partial verdict. 

Deliberations resumed deliberations Tuesday morning after finishing its third day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. Jurors deliberated until 6:15 p.m. Monday, later than usual, before being dismissed for the day.

Just after 11:00 a.m., jurors submitted a note to Ellis asking what would happen if they couldn’t reach consensus on one of the 18 counts against Manafort, and what would that mean for the final verdict. Judge Ellis confirmed that it would be a partial verdict.

In evaluating the 18 counts, the jury can have a combination of convictions, hung juries and acquittals. Judge Ellis emphasized that he has not inquired about where he jury stands in its progress. While their note did not indicate the verdict status of the 18 charges, it seems to point to a deadlock on at least one of charges. 

After bringing the jurors into the courtroom, Ellis told the jury that it should return and “carefully review all the evidence in the case” again, reminding the 12 jurors that if they fail to come to a unanimous conclusion, the case “will remain open.”

Avoiding any coercive language so as to influence the deliberation, Ellis encouraged the jurors to listen to one another and allow themselves to consider if their doubt, if it exists, is reasonable. He told them “You are not partisans. You are judges” and there is no reason to believe that any other group of individuals would do a better job deliberating, so they should continue. 

Before the jurors entered the courtroom, Ellis told the court that at this point, he will not ask the jury about the number of charges that it has, in fact, decided. However, if they continue to have trouble coming to a unanimous conclusion, Ellis said he would inquire and is open to a partial verdict. 

He also said that he would not give the jury a new verdict sheet, which they requested. Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, suggested the option of “hung jury” be added to a verdict sheet. Ellis, however, declined this request. 

Federal prosecutors allege Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars in foreign income. They also say he lied on loan applications to obtain millions more to maintain a lavish lifestyle.

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

The trial is the first courtroom test of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, though the case doesn’t involve allegations of Russian election interference

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