“I believe the entire Manafort trial may be very unhappy. … I believe it is a very unhappy day for our nation,” the President stated on the White Home. “He occurs to be an excellent particular person, and I believe it is very unhappy what they’ve achieved to Paul Manafort.”
Manafort’s protection lawyer Kevin Downing advised reporters they “actually respect the assist of President Trump.”
Additionally on Friday, Decide T.S. Ellis introduced that he has acquired threats throughout the proceedings.
Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, financial institution fraud and hiding international financial institution accounts introduced by particular counsel Robert Mueller as a part of the investigation into Russian interference within the 2016 US election. He has pleaded not responsible to all the fees.
The trial carries main implications for the way forward for the Mueller investigation. Trump has repeatedly referred to as the probe a “witch hunt” that hasn’t discovered proof of Russian collusion along with his marketing campaign, and his allies out and in of the White Home say the particular counsel ought to wrap issues up.
A Manafort conviction would permit Democrats and Mueller’s supporters to say ending the investigation can be untimely. It might additionally enhance Mueller’s place as he negotiates with Trump’s legal professionals over a possible interview.
Threats in opposition to decide
Ellis didn’t disclose particulars in regards to the threats he had acquired. However he stated they had been sufficient to make him cautious of creating the names of the 12 jurors and 4 alternates public, in response to a request from media organizations.
“I’ve acquired criticism and threats. I might think about they’d too,” Ellis stated, including that US marshals accompany him in every single place, together with an unnamed resort the place he is staying, however jurors haven’t got that safety.
The ruling just isn’t a gag order, and jurors shall be free to make particular person choices after the trial about whether or not to talk to the media.
Ellis does plan to make public all bench conferences presently underneath seal with one exception — probably the a part of the trial the place the particular counsel’s workplace mentioned its ongoing investigation.
“A thirsty press is crucial in a free nation,” Ellis stated.
The trial has not touched on Russia or the 2016 election. As a substitute, the main focus has been fully on Manafort’s funds.
Prosecutors stated Manafort had collected $65 million in international financial institution accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent greater than $15 million on luxurious purchases in the identical interval, together with high-end clothes, actual property, landscaping and different big-ticket gadgets.
In addition they alleged that Manafort had lied to banks so as to take out greater than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015, they usually accused him of hiding the international financial institution accounts from federal authorities. Manafort additionally was charged with receiving loans from the Federal Financial savings Financial institution after one in every of its executives sought a place within the Trump marketing campaign and administration, in line with prosecutors.
“Mr. Manafort lied to maintain extra money when he had it, and he lied to get extra money when he did not,” prosecutor Greg Andres advised jurors throughout closing arguments. “It is a case about lies.”
Protection lawyer Richard Westling stated Manafort grew to become the particular counsel’s sufferer in a “selective strategy of pulling” his monetary information to concoct a story of an “elaborate fraud scheme.” (Ellis later instructed the jury to not contemplate such characterizations of Mueller’s staff’s motives.)
Manafort faces as much as 305 years in jail if convicted on all costs.