Politics

Manafort Jury Indicates Discord on One of 18 Counts

Note to judge asked for instructions in the event of being stuck on a single charge

Jurors are in their fourth day of deliberations at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, in the bank fraud and tax evasion case against former Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The jury in the tax evasion and bank loan fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appears stuck on one count, they indicated Tuesday in a note to the judge around 11 a.m.

The note included Tuesday’s date and the following message:

“Your Honor, if we cannot come to a consensus on a single count, how should we fill in the jury verdict form for that count? And what will that mean for the final verdict? We will need another verdict form.”

Judge T.S. Ellis III did not not directly answer the jurors’ questions, but instead issued a set of standard instructions urging them to try to reach a unanimous conclusion on all counts.

“It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so,” Ellis said.

When the court security officer ushered the jury into the room, one male juror sat apart from the others as they listened to Ellis’ instructions. There are six men and six women on the panel. One element of the instructions seemed to strike a chord with the separated juror.

“You are not partisans,” Ellis read from a sheet of paper at his bench. The juror demonstrably nodded with his head and his whole body rocking back and forth for roughly five seconds.

Ellis told both legal teams and the courtroom Tuesday before he brought the jury in that he would not instruct a partial verdict yet.

Manafort faces 18 counts a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty.

Watch: What I Saw That You Couldn’t See at the Manafort Trial

The note from the jury asking about how their collective indecision on one count would affect the overall verdict is not “exceptional” or “unusual” for a jury trial, Ellis said.

The judge also noted he cannot give the jury a new verdict sheet.

“Under [the standard set of instructions for such jury questions], they need to complete their work” and “continue to use [their] form” as it was given to them when they were first dismissed to begin deliberations last Thursday.

The jury is reviewing hundreds of exhibits in evidence and testimony from numerous witnesses, including Manafort’s longtime deputy, Rick Gates.

They were dismissed to continue their deliberations shortly after noon.

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