Manafort judge refuses to name jurors over safety fears

Television cameras are 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 in trial of ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort submits four questions to judge

The judge presiding over Paul Manafort's federal fraud and tax crime trial said on Friday that he travels with the protection of USA marshalls after receiving threats.

The judge in the criminal trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will hold a hearing Friday on whether to unseal the names and addresses of the jurors. He faces 18 felony counts on tax evasion and bank fraud. He went on to insist that Manafort only briefly worked for him, but said that was long enough to know that Manafort is a top-notch guy. He cited the "peace and safety of the jurors" in discussing what material under seal during the trial would be released at its conclusion.

Ellis has been tough on the lawyers during the case, telling them to "rein in your facial expressions", urging prosecutors to speed up testimony and clashing with prosecutor Greg Andres during testimony by Manafort's former deputy.

Manafort's financial fraud trial is the first to emerge from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 election campaign.

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The question suggested one or more jurors may be grappling with whether prosecutors met this standard of proof on certain counts.

Trump spoke shortly after the jury in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. had begun its second day of deliberations.

Judge T.S. Ellis told the jury they need to rely on their collective memory of the evidence to answer most questions.

But defense attorney Richard Westling told the jury Manafort should be acquitted because the government had not met its burden to prove that he was "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt".

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"The Marshals go where I go", Ellis said, confirming the existence of his recent security detail.

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump again called Mueller's investigation, which had cast a cloud over his presidency, a "rigged witch hunt", but sidestepped a question about whether he would issue a presidential pardon for Manafort. Deliberations will resume on Friday at 9:30am.

"I don't talk about that now", he said, before ripping the prosecution of his former adviser by special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators.

Prosecutors said Mr Manafort earned $US60 million ($83 million) advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, hid much of it from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and then lied to banks to get loans when the money dried up.

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