Manafort jury sends note asking to leave early

Members of the media as set up outside of federal court as jury deliberations are set to begin in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Alexandria Va. Thursday Aug. 16 2018

Jury deliberations in the case began Thursday. A verdict in the case is not expected Friday, after the jury sent a note to the judge saying one juror has an event in the evening and wanted to conclude by 5 p.m.

The judge also said he would not release the names and addresses of jurors sought by media outlets because he was anxious about their "peace and safety".

"U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III made the comments as the jury deliberated for the second day, and as he rejected a motion to release information about the jurors".

"I had no idea myself this case would arouse such public interest", he said.

"I'm not [lead prosecutor] Greg Andres, so it's easy for me to say he doesn't need to bite his nails right now", Litman said.

United States district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides at top right.

Judge TS Ellis also said he had received threats himself over the case.

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.

Another factor that could contribute to an elongated deliberation process is whether the jury is aware of the political magnitude of their decision. "I think it's a very sad day for our country", Trump said Friday.

Mr Manafort denies charges of bank and tax fraud, in the first trial stemming from the inquiry into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 USA elections. "They had some questions which the judge addressed, and they've asked to come back tomorrow to continue deliberation", Downing said.

The charges largely predate Manafort's five months working on Trump's campaign during a pivotal period in the 2016 presidential race, including three months as campaign chairman. If convicted on all the charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. He then called on a "Mr. Trump", prompting laughter and a smile from Manafort.

Trump had previously indicated that he found Manafort's treatment by the Justice Department "very unfair".

On Friday, he accused Mueller of having "a lot of conflicts", but said the special counsel should be allowed to finish a report on Russia's role in the 2016 election. Manafort's lawyers said Tuesday that they would call none, alleging that the government "cannot meet that burden" of proof that would move a jury to issue a guilty verdict. At the end of each day, Ellis has reminded the jurors not to discuss the case with anyone, read any media reports or do any research on their own.

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