Manafort trial judge has received threats

The jury in the Paul Manafort trial are still deliberating. There’s a pile of papers and 18 charges so it’s not surprising it is taking a while to arrive at verdicts.

In a bizarre twist the trial judge says there have been threats made against him.

NBCNews:  Judge in Paul Manafort trial says he has gotten threats

District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, who is overseeing the bank and tax fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, said Friday that he has received threats that necessitate U.S. marshal protection to and from the courthouse.

“I had no idea that this case would excite these emotions, I will tell you that frankly,” Ellis told the court as the jury, which was not present for his comments, deliberated for a second day. The case is being tried in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ellis’s admission came during an afternoon hearing brought by a coalition of media outlets, including NBC News, to unseal juror names and bench conference transcripts of conversations the judge has had with the defense and the prosecution.

Ellis refused to reveal the names of the jurors because he fears they would face similar threats — without being afforded the same protections.

“I have no reason to believe that, if those names are unsealed, there won’t be threats against them,” he said.

Ellis also said he would not unseal the one bench conference related to the ongoing investigation, because he did not want to interfere in it, though at the conclusion of the case, he will unseal transcripts related to the administration of the jury.

Manafort is facing 18 charges of tax and banking fraud, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutors have painted Manafort as a liar who hid millions from U.S. tax authorities in overseas accounts for years, while Manafort’s attorneys sought to paint him as a talented political consultant who had served several elected officials, including Trump, while pinning the blame for any wrongdoing on Rick Gates, Manafort’s former protégé and the key witness against him.

Threatening a trial judge is a very serious allegation.

6 Comments

  1. unitedtribes2

     /  August 19, 2018

    The emotive reaction to this trial is a reaction by Trump supporters who consider this is part of the witch hunt and the Russian business. Manafort was collateral damage one of the few targets Muller has been able to get to court. The whole business is just sour grapes from the Democrats who didn’t like the outcome of the election 2016.

  2. David

     /  August 19, 2018

    It will be some poor soul suffering TDS flipping out when Ellis was a little tough on Meullers team.
    If I was Manafort I would be quite happy the jury is taking this long and the prosecution didnt really seem to have enough hence not needing to offer a defense.

    • The jury have to decide on 18 charges with many docume4nts involved. It should take them days to work through it all properly. So the jury taking a while means little.

      • David

         /  August 19, 2018

        General rule of thumb the longer the jury is out the better for the defense. They need unanimous verdicts amongst the 12 jurors.
        Personally I think Manafort is an unpleasant fella so not defending him but I hope he gets off, only reason he is being charged is because he was associated with Trump and that is not good for democracy.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  August 20, 2018

          #snort… general rule of thumb…

          1. this is a paper case – heavy in documents and complicated financial records to work through

          2. Quick verdicts are not generally associated with lengthy, document-heavy white-collar prosecutions

          3. there are 18 charges – and the jury has to agree on a verdict for each charge

          4. the jury is almost certainly aware of the political magnitude of their decisions – they had four different questions asked of the judge at the end of the first day of deliberations – perhaps they’re just being meticulous

          “I think Manafort is an unpleasant fella so not defending him but I hope he gets off” –
          because “he was associated with trump” you’re happy for Manafort to get off charges of bank fraud and tax evasion … so you’re putting partisan political expediency ahead of lawful behaviour.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  August 20, 2018

          A couple cases in point:

          The Oliver North case (1989) took a jury 12 days to deliberate in a case with 12 counts.

          The Scooter Libby case (2007) took 10 days of deliberations in a case with five counts.

          The Manafort case has 18 counts.