Manafort Jury Ends Day Without Reaching a Verdict: Trial Update
(Bloomberg) -- The jury in Paul Manafort tax- and bank-fraud trial ended a second day of deliberations without having reached a verdict. The panel of 12 is to return to the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, Monday at 9:30 a.m. to resume the deliberations.
Jury Goes Home for Weekend Without Verdict (5:20 p.m.)
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III dismissed the jurors shortly before 5 p.m. and said they would convene for a third day of deliberations on Monday. They’re considering an 18-count indictment of Manafort and going through hundreds of pieces of evidence submitted by prosecutors.
Jury Asks to Be Dismissed by 5 p.m. (3:13 p.m.)
Jurors told the judge they were still deliberating and requested to end their day by 5 p.m., signaling that they weren’t likely to reach a verdict on Friday. Ellis received a note from the jury asking to complete the second day of deliberations by the end of the business day because one panelist had to attend an event on Friday evening.
Judge, After Threats, Will Withhold Jurors’ Names (2:43 p.m.)
Ellis said he had received threats and would keep the names of jurors a secret for their safety despite a request by news organizations that their names be made public.
The judge is being protected full time by the U.S. Marshals. “I won’t tell you what threats I’ve received,” he said, “but I have the Marshals’ protection. Where I go, they go.”
“I had no idea this case would excite these emotions,” the judge said.
Ellis also said that he would ultimately unseal everything from the trial except for the jurors’ names and the transcript of a sidebar conference with lawyers that he said was related to Mueller’s broader investigation.
Trump Mum on Manafort Pardon (11:44 a.m.)
Trump was asked by a reporter whether he’ll pardon his former campaign chairman.
“I don’t talk about that,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think it is a very sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very short period of time. But, you know what, he happens to be a very good person. And I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”
Hearing Set for Unsealing Bid (11:00 a.m.)
Ellis will hold a hearing at 2 p.m. -- while the jury continues deliberations -- for arguments by media to unseal several documents in the case, including the names and addresses of the jurors and some of the judge’s sidebar discussions with lawyers.
Jury Mulling Complex FBAR Requirements (10:17 a.m.)
The jury’s questions to the judge suggested that they may trip over at least four of the 18 counts against Manafort. He’s accused of failing to file foreign bank account reports, known as FBARs, for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
U.S. taxpayers must file an FBAR if they had a financial interest in and authority over an account in a foreign country valued at more than $10,000. Taxpayers must file FBARs separately from their tax returns. Manafort faces five counts of filing false tax returns that failed to disclose his foreign accounts and understated income.
Prosecutors said that Manafort owned and controlled 31 foreign accounts and that more than $60 million flowed through them from 2010 to 2014. But defense lawyers argued that prosecutors failed to prove that Manafort controlled those accounts, with names like Global Highway Limited, Leviathan Advisors Limited and Lucicle Consultants Limited.
The jurors asked whether someone is required to file FBARs if he owns less than 50 percent of an account and doesn’t have signature authority but is authorized to disburse funds. That suggests that jurors are wrestling with how to apply the law’s complex requirements to the murky structures set up by Manafort’s law firm in Cyprus.
The Justice Department rarely tries to prove criminal FBAR violations at trial. Instead, it forced thousands of U.S. taxpayers to pay large civil FBAR penalties during a crackdown over the past decade on offshore tax evasion, primarily in Switzerland.
A pioneer in the Justice Department’s use of FBAR penalties against taxpayers was Kevin Downing, who’s now in private practice and Manafort’s lead lawyer.
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