Thursday, August 16, 2018

Jurors in Manafort trial send judge four questions, including asking him to redefine reasonable doubt

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Jurors weighing the fate of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort ended its first day of deliberations Thursday with a set of questions for the judge, asking for further explanation of legal points the defense made in closing arguments.

Just before 4:50 p.m., there was a knock at one of the doors to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis' courtroom, behind which jurors are deliberating. The court security officer emerged minutes later with a note.

Jurors had four questions, some of which centered around defense arguments made by Manafort's lawyers.

Manafort faces 18 tax and bank fraud charges. Prosecutors say he hid millions of dollars from the IRS in overseas bank accounts, and then lied to banks to obtain multimillion dollar loans.

The jury's deliberations began just before 10 a.m. Thursday. They are expected to resume Friday at 9:30 a.m.

The jurors' questions suggest they are quickly diving into the weeds of the sometimes complex tax laws at issue in the case.

First, jurors asked if someone was required to file a form called an FBAR - which is required of people with foreign bank accounts containing more than $10,000 - if they owned less than 50 percent of such an account and did not have signature authority but did have the ability to direct disbursement.

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