Manafort Guilty on 8 Counts

Update: 8/21/18: The jury in the Paul Manafort trial returned guilty verdicts on 8 of 18 counts. The judge declared a mistrial on the other counts.

Original Post, 8/16/18, Manifort Jury Deliberating: The jury is out in the Paul Manafort trial. His charges:

  • willfully subscribing and filing false income tax returns (Counts 1 through 5),
  • willfully failing to file foreign bank account
    reports (“FBARs”) (Counts 11 through 14),
  • bank fraud (Counts 25 through 27, 30 and 32),
  • bank fraud conspiracy (Counts 24, 28, 29, and 31)

It's interesting to see all the media articles with photos of Manafort and counsel arriving at the courthouse and Manafort and his wife leaving the courthouse. The photos are all from prior court appearances. Manafort is detained during trial, his bond having been revoked in June. There are no photos of him coming to or leaving the courthouse during the trial. [More...]

Google News, which has become almost useless at finding what you want since their last revamping of the site, blows it today with its huge headline for Manafort that says, "Manafort lied on witness stand, prosecutors argue." Manafort didn't take the stand. Really sloppy.

While the trial judge seemed to favor the defense during trial due to his caustic comments to the Government, the pretrial record shows the Judge denied almost all of Manafort's important motions, such as motions to suppress evidence.

Not having watched the trial and the jurors and their reactions, I have no prediction, other than I won't be surprised if they are done by Friday afternoon.

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    Jury and Reasonable Doubt (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 07:21:11 PM EST
    according to the Washington Post.

    Defense attorneys emphasized in their closing argument that it's not enough to believe a defendant is "likely" guilty or even "highly likely" guilty, using a thermometer chart to make the point.

    Something like this. The chart is not evidence and doesn't go to the jury. O'Mara used one in Zimmerman, they are pretty common.

    The Fourth Circuit (which includes the EDVA) does not believe judges need to define reasonable doubt because its meaning is self-evident and trying to define it will likely confuse the jury. It is up to the individual judge whether to define it, even when a jury requests it. I think that's nuts.

    In Manafort's case, the judge's actual instructions are not on the docket, but the Govt. submitted this one and Manafort's defense stated it had no objection:

    Presumption of Innocence, Burden of Proof, Reasonable Doubt

    I instruct you that you must presume the defendant to be innocent of the crimes charged. Thus the defendant, although accused of crimes in the superseding indictment, begins the trial with a "clean slate"--with no evidence against him. The superseding indictment, as you already know, is not evidence of any kind. The law permits nothing but legal evidence presented before the jury in court to be considered in support of any charge against a defendant. The presumption of innocence alone, therefore, is sufficient to acquit the defendant.

    The burden is always upon the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden never shifts to the defendant for the law never imposes upon the defendant in a criminal case the burden or duty of calling any witnesses or producing any evidence by cross-examining the witnesses for the government.

    The jury will remember that a defendant is never to be convicted on mere suspicion or conjecture.
    Unless the government proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant has committed each and every element of the offenses charged in the superseding indictment, you must find the defendant not guilty of the offenses.
    It is not required, however, that the government prove guilt beyond all possible doubt. The test is one of reasonable doubt.

    [Sources: 1A O'Malley, Grenig, and Lee, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions, § 12:10 (6th ed. updated through February 2018) (definition of "reasonable doubt" and "two-inference instruction" omitted to conform with Fourth Circuit law); see United States v. Blankenship, 846 F.3d 663, 679 (4th Cir. 2017) (directing district courts not to use the two-inference instruction); United States v. Williams, 152 F.3d 294, 298 (4th Cir. 1998) ("a district court need not, and in fact should not, define the term `reasonable doubt' even upon request") United States v. Williams, 152 F.3d 294, 298 (4th Cir. 1998); see also United States v. Reives, 15 F.3d 42 (4th Cir. 1994); United States v. Oriakhi, 57 F.3d 1290 (4th Cir. 1995).

    That is Unnecessarily Complicated (none / 0) (#13)
    by RickyJim on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 09:29:10 PM EST
    As I indicated elsewhere in this thread, it is simpler and clearer to say, "You must find the defendant not guilty if you believe, on the basis of the evidence presented in court, it is reasonable that he/she didn't commit the charged offense; if it is unreasonable, after considering the aforementioned evidence, that the defendant didn't commit the offense, you must find the defendant guilty."  The reference to burden of proof is also an unnecessary complication.  In reality, all it means is that you can't substitute a criterion like, "You must find the defendant guilty, if it is reasonable that he/she committed the charged offense."

    Referring to what the prosecution or defense has to do tends to get the jury to focus on the the lawyers rather than the evidence and is a bad idea.


    I wonder what you base that opinion on (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 09:45:42 PM EST
    As it conflicts with what all judges and lawyers who have written on the subject seem to say. And, by the way, any instruction that tells the jury that they "must" convict under any set of circumstances (as you would have the judge instruct) violates the Sixth Amendment right to an independent jury. If there is reasonable doubt, the jury "must" acquit. If guilt has been established beyond a reasonable doubt, then they "may" convict. The power of jury nullification, however much it may seem to disregard a strict application of law, must not be negated.

    It Is News to Me That You Must Allow Nullification (none / 0) (#15)
    by RickyJim on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 10:04:50 PM EST
    In that case, one can pare down the criterion I gave to, "You must acquit, if on the basis of the evidence presented, it is reasonable that the defendant didn't commit the charged offense."  Please propose it the next time a judge asks you to suggest a jury instruction, and your client is innocent.  :-)

    Judges do not have to advise the jury (none / 0) (#16)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 11:36:38 PM EST
    that they have the power to nullify the law, and most courts would say judges should not so inform the jury, as it might be taken as encouragement. But it would be wrong to tell them that they cannot or must not render a verdict contrary to the legal instructions. At most, the judge can tell the jury that if all the elements of the offense have been proven to their satisfaction beyond a reasonable doubt, then "it is your duty" to convict. But not "must." The jury is, as they say, "the conscience of the community." The jury, in the courtroom, represents the power of the people as against the power of the State (personified by the judge or prosecutor), in the Framers' view.

    Holey Moley (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 11:54:12 PM EST
    Chuck Rosenberg on Rachel said the Judge did not allow the Prosecution to publish (or show) the exhibits to the jury during the trial.

    Can't think of a more effective way to cripple the Prosecution in a complicated, document-driven case.

    I have seen a trial record in which (none / 0) (#19)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 09:59:42 AM EST
    the judge took that approach -- admitting documents at trial but then not displaying them or allowing a witness to read from them -- only once in my career of handling over 200 federal criminal appeals. In that case, it sorely prejudiced the defense, as the prosecutor was able to highlight in closing argument what she considered the key incriminating parts out of hundreds of pages, with no meaningful opportunity for the defendant to cross-examine and little chance to present an effective rebuttal in the defense closing.

    What is the Justification? (none / 0) (#20)
    by RickyJim on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 10:37:46 AM EST
    For not supplying the jury with a copy of each piece of evidence that was presented during the trial?  By the way, did Judge Ellis allow the jury to ask questions during the trial?  I know no better way of informing the parties of how well the jurors are understanding the evidence.

    The jury has been supplied with copies (none / 0) (#21)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 11:36:05 AM EST
    of all the documentary evidence for their use during deliberations. The question we were discussing was different: the judge's unusual ruling that after (or while) the documents were formally introduced into evidence during the trial, they should not be displayed on screen, copies handed around, or the key parts read out loud and potentially discussed by live witnesses who were familiar with the documents.

    As for allowing the jurors to ask questions (none / 0) (#24)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 12:04:46 PM EST
    most judges do not allow that, as it poses a tremendous risk under the rules of evidence which govern what is admissible at a trial. Jurors don't know those rules, are unlikely to understand the good reasons (developed over hundreds of years) why some information, or information in some forms, that laypersons who want to know, is nevertheless excluded from criminal trials. The lawyers would also have to object to certain jury questions, which could create antagonism. So all in all, it is rarely allowed. Between the two contending parties and the judge himself (who can ask questions), it is (rightly) assumed that all proper questions will or ought to be asked during the course of a trial.

    Colorado state courts allow... (none / 0) (#26)
    by magster on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 01:57:55 PM EST
    ... jurors to submit written questions for witnesses to the judge, with each question vetted by the judge and counsel outside of the presence of the jury. CRCP 47 (u).

    I Disagree (none / 0) (#34)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 10:18:10 AM EST
    If the lawyers follow the usual rule, "Don't ask any question for which you don't know the answer.", relevant information may very well not come out during the trial.  The judge in the Scooter Libby trial allowed juror questions. Was that trial a disaster in the administration of justice?

    I don't understand Judge Ellis' objection to allowing reference to entered exhibits and having the jurors' copy of those exhibits annotated as to which charges they are relevant.  Especially in a complicated case, where as I assume the jurors have little expertise in the subject matter, everything should be done to make sure they understand the evidence.  

    If you don't like the verdict in this trial, consider the possibility that is was caused by defects in the US legal system as much as blunders by particular individuals.


    Those $1,500 dress shirts (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by fishcamp on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 09:11:11 AM EST
    that Manafort has would make great fishing shirts for my block the sun ensemble.  Howdy can have the ostrich skin jacket.

    Not sure to be happy or sad (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by CoralGables on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 04:09:16 PM EST
    but it does feel like I was just served a giant ice cream sundae with extra sprinkles on top from two different courtrooms.

    8 scoops (none / 0) (#74)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 04:11:03 PM EST
    The number of the day is definitely 8

    It Ain't Over Until ... (2.00 / 1) (#96)
    by RickyJim on Thu Aug 23, 2018 at 10:41:11 AM EST
    Apparently juror misconduct was brought up during the trial and maybe will form a basis for appeal.  I am 100% in favor of allowing jurors to talk about the case to each other during the trial, raising their hands to ask questions or make comments including telling the lawyers what evidence they should present to improve their cases. In other words like a trial was a classroom.  I feel that the current rules serve only to give power and control to the lawyer$, not those searching for the truth.

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by ding7777 on Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 12:04:13 PM EST
    If jurors started talking among themselves during the State's presentation some jurors could form a "guilty" verdict and will close their minds to the Defense version .

    If jurors could ask questions they may ask something that is prejudicial to the Defendant.



    Thanks (1.50 / 2) (#100)
    by RickyJim on Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 02:53:59 PM EST
    By coming up with a couple of lame possibilities as to what bad can happen and don't refute any of the obvious good, you increase my certainty that I am right.

    Not one single person should (none / 0) (#101)
    by ding7777 on Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 07:40:17 PM EST
    be convicted because of what you call "lame possibilities" no matter how "right" you consider yourself to be

    What About All the People Who Would Be Acquitted (none / 0) (#102)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 12:07:03 AM EST
    by an active jury that understood the evidence better, that would have been convicted by a uninterested jury, uncritically accepting what the prosecution was feeding them?

    if they are impartial (5.00 / 4) (#105)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 01:26:02 AM EST
    as they swear they are during jury voir dire, there is no reason they would "uncritically accept what the prosecution was feeding them?" Just because the defense doesn't put on evidence doesn't mean they haven't refuted the states' case. The defense has no obligation to prove a single thing. Cross-examination wins many a case, there's a reason it is called the greatest engine ever invented for ferreting out untruths in the courtroom.

    A trial is not a search for the truth (5.00 / 5) (#103)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 01:22:00 AM EST
    It never has been about the truth. It's about one thing and one thing only: Can the prosecution meet its burden to prove each and every element of the crimes charged by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I completely agree with your assessment (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 12:20:59 PM EST
    of the revamped Google News. If I wanted a picture show and moving graphics, I would say so. Total waste of space and bandwith. Same for the fact that it is now "targeted" at some algorithm's idea of what I am interested in (based on similarity to something I read in the past), rather than being based on what a professional journalist-editor judges to be important. So much less real news, and so much harder to find.

    NYT explains why. defendant Manafort isn't (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 12:38:11 PM EST
    wearing socks in court.

    Positively correlated (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 01:20:36 PM EST
    with a favorable verdict, according to studies?

    I'd follow the same route (none / 0) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 01:28:51 PM EST
    Deliberations continue tomorrow (none / 0) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 04:21:54 PM EST

    Washington Post reporting (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 04:58:19 PM EST
    that the jurors have asked the judge to re-define "reasonable doubt" for them. I can think of more than one scenario in the jury room that could give rise to this question, but the most likely is that there are a few jurors (or maybe even one) who is/are claiming to have a reasonable doubt about Manafort's guilt, and the majority are saying No, that's not the kind of serious doubt the judge referred to as "reasonable," that's more like a "possible doubt," and then they agree, as a way out of the dispute, to ask the judge to repeat (or perhaps elaborate) the definition for them. This is a very sensitive area, where the judge's way of responding can steer the jury's deliberations -- toward acquittal if he goes one way, or toward conviction if another. Staying down the middle, as the standard jury instructions try to do, is hard when the jury is focusing on it. The proper "definition" of reasonable doubt is so controversial that the Supreme Court has addressed it at least three different ways, and some appellate courts actually say (wrongly, in my opinion, but nevertheless, they do) that is legal error for a judge to try to define "reasonable doubt" at all!

    According to the updated article (none / 0) (#10)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 06:07:45 PM EST
    the judge already gave answers to the jury's four questions, including:
    The judge told them reasonable doubt "is a doubt based on reason," but added: "The government is not required to prove guilt beyond all possible doubt."
    Pretty standard.

    I guess (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 09:20:23 PM EST
    he stopped putting his thumb on the scale.

    Four Jury Questions (none / 0) (#7)
    by RickyJim on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 04:58:30 PM EST
    The first question was about the requirements to file FBAR reports. At the request of prosecutor Greg Andres, Judge Ellis re-read the jury instructions about the law regarding FBAR reports.

    The second question asked for a definition of "shelf" companies, and their filing requirements. Ellis told the jury they will have to rely on their collective recollection from the testimony and evidence in the trial.

    The third question asked to redefine or give explanation of the term reasonable doubt. Ellis responded that reasonable doubt means "doubt based on reason," and that the government is not required to prove guilt beyond "all possible doubt."

    The final question asked by the jury was whether the exhibit list in the case could be amended to reflect the indictment counts. Ellis said no, that jurors must rely on their memory of which exhibits were used during certain parts of testimony.

    The only intuitive explanation of "reasonable doubt" that I have ever heard is, "Is it a reasonable possibility that the defendant didn't commit the charged offense?".

    Are you saying you've heard a judge explain (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 05:22:12 PM EST
    reasonable doubt that way? I find that hard to believe. Legal definitions of reasonable doubt, to my knowledge, steer far clear of referring to "possibility," which is too lax a test, that is, a harder burden for the prosecution than would be correct.

    OK, What She Really Said (none / 0) (#9)
    by RickyJim on Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 05:28:50 PM EST
    "Reasonable doubt means it reasonable that the defendant didn't commit the charged offense".  The word possible or possibility wasn't used.  My recollection is that everybody on the jury was happy with that explanation.  I doubt the same can be said for the jury in this case.

    That's the fault of the 4th Circuit (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 01:35:17 AM EST
    which is one of the few circuits that does disapproves of judges defining reasonable doubt for jurors.

    Many defense lawyers use a reasonable doubt chart (like O'Mara did and like Manafort's lawyer did) to explain to the jury.

    I like this one, it's also from the District of Colombia:

    Reasonable doubt, as the name implies, is a doubt based on reason - a doubt for which you have a reason based upon the evidence or lack of evidence in the case. If, after careful, honest, and impartial consideration of all the evidence, you are not firmly convinced of a defendant's guilt, then you have a reasonable doubt.

    Reasonable doubt is the kind of doubt that would cause a reasonable person,after careful and thoughtful reflection, to hesitate to act in the graver or more important matters in life. However, it is not an imaginary doubt, nor a doubt based
    on speculation or guesswork; it is a doubt based on reason. The government is not required to prove guilt beyond all doubt, or to a mathematical or scientific certainty. Its burden is to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Yet, I Have Argued With Defense Lawyers (none / 0) (#107)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 09:48:40 AM EST
    who claim that a vague feeling that the prosecution didn't prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt is enough.  They say you don't have to have a reason you can articulate.  This seems to contradict the DC version you give above.  

    I just don't understand why a silent jury is goodness. The only good thing about it is that saying during voir dire that I want to ask questions and make comments during the trial has kept me off juries for the past 30 years or so. :-)


    Is there a sense of how long (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 11:51:16 AM EST
    Jury deliberations normally take?

    I'd imagine quicker = better for the prosecution, and longer = more likely to be a holdout or two?

    I think most trial lawyers would agree (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 11:59:51 AM EST
    that juries try to reach a verdict before the end of a Friday, so they don't have to continue deliberating on the weekend or come back next week. On the other hand, they tend not to announce their verdicts until after lunchtime, since a nice lunch is typically provided to them by the court for free during deliberations.

    General rule of thumb (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 12:33:56 PM EST
    is that a quick verdict is a defense verdict.

    I once went to a hearing on a motion. But before my hearing the judge was finishing giving instructions to a jury. After that the jury was excused for deliberations. While waiting for my case to be called (there were other motions to be heard on othet cases) the jury came to a verdict. They came out and the verdict was a defense verdict. They were out 10 minutes or so.


    The jury will (none / 0) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 02:14:37 PM EST
    reconvene its deliberations on Monday. Judge Ellis will not release the names of the jurors due to threats to jurors over the past weeks. (perhaps, this was the juror issue earlier).  The judge, too, says he has received threats and is traveling with US Marshals for his safety.

    I hope that means the jury (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 04:35:28 PM EST
    is being exceptionally conscientious in going through every count individually, as they should. If there is some disagreement between jurors about guilt, this can also lead to a "compromise" verdict, where the defendant is acquitted on some counts and convicted on others. Which, unbeknownst to the jury, is usually of little benefit to the defendant in the end.

    If that happens (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 06:09:25 PM EST
    with Manafort doubly so since he has another trial in about a month. I have read that the next one is way bigger than this one but I'm not sure why.

    Yes, I am (none / 0) (#35)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 12:39:21 PM EST
    hopeful that the jury's conscientiousness relates to one of the four questions in a note to Judge Ellis, namely..."can the exhibit list be amended to include the indictment?"  Answer:  No.  It seemed like the jury wanted the exhibits and charges in the indictment to be annotated, but Ellis said, essentially, sort it out yourselves.  And,that is what they are doing.

    Presumably the judge provided the jury (none / 0) (#36)
    by Peter G on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 01:12:58 PM EST
    with a detailed verdict form for use during deliberations, or some other guide to knowing which count charges exactly what. The indictment, as I discussed in an earlier comment, is not the proper document to use for that purpose, if you are interested in fairness to the accused. A federal indictment typically contains a lot of allegations, drafted by the prosecutors, of what they hoped at the outset of the case to prove. Not a neutral statement of the essence of the formal charges, which is what the jury should have before them now.

    I am Not as Sanguine as You About This Jury (none / 0) (#37)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 01:36:29 PM EST
    Asking what a shell company is (apparently they spelled it shelf) and what reasonable doubt is, indicates to me that they are lost in the technical details with no knowledgeable  members to lead them.  But as I have said a number of times in this forum, I don't believe in adversarial trials, especially ones with lay juries, at all so you can see where my pessimism comes from.

    I prefer (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 05:41:14 PM EST
    in some ways juries to bench trials. With juries you have 12, or in some onstances six, people deciding the case. It makes it less likely that one biased person will decide your fate.  With a judge, not so. Just because a Judge is knowledgeable or bright does not make him or her less biased. It is harder to persuade judges who will often have their own agenda and experiences.



    Yes, More Than One Decider is Better (none / 0) (#39)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 08:02:56 PM EST
    But that doesn't cover how to get more accurate results in the courtroom. I suggest "Trials Without Truth: Why Our System of Criminal Trials Has Become an Expensive Failure and What We Need to Do to Rebuild It" by William T Pizzi for a list of what is wrong.

    On August 7 (none / 0) (#40)
    by CoralGables on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 09:45:02 PM EST
    Gates referred to some of Manafort's corporations as "shelf companies". He wasn't questioned on his use of the term and it has lived on as such.

    From testimony (none / 0) (#41)
    by CoralGables on Sat Aug 18, 2018 at 09:49:40 PM EST
    they probably should have been referred to as shell companies.

    Shelf company (none / 0) (#42)
    by jmacWA on Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 06:08:51 AM EST
    Is a corporation that was opened and never used... i.e. there was never any activity.  It was "put on the shelf"

    Right (none / 0) (#43)
    by CoralGables on Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 08:47:01 AM EST
    but there was money flowing in and out of them so "shelf" was a misnomer.

    I Have a Dream (none / 0) (#44)
    by RickyJim on Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 09:45:13 AM EST
    While Gates was testifying, a juror raised her hand to ask a question.  The judge recognized her and she asked, "What is a shell company, Mr. Gates?".  

    She Ask "Shelf", sorry (none / 0) (#45)
    by RickyJim on Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 09:45:54 AM EST
    Better (none / 0) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 02:17:19 PM EST
    So how long before (none / 0) (#31)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 08:34:48 PM EST
    Cheeto pardons Manafort?

    The very sad day and the very good person... (none / 0) (#32)
    by desertswine on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 08:41:24 PM EST
     "I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad. When you look at what's going on there, I think it's a very sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very short period of time. And you know what? He happens to be a very good person. I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."

     - el Presidente  17Aug18


    Even Fox News person criticized (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 17, 2018 at 09:12:10 PM EST
    dJT for tweeting re Manafort while jury is deliberating.  

    Probably at least (none / 0) (#46)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 04:21:12 PM EST
    After the second trial.

    Probably a verdict next week.  Which means other things may also happen next week.

    Subpoena, indictments etc.


    Welcome back Howdy... (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by fishcamp on Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 08:49:18 PM EST
    We're you on a retreat, or do they still have those?

    You could say that (none / 0) (#48)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Aug 20, 2018 at 08:12:59 AM EST
    A jackazz took out a telephone pole with a dump truck in my neighborhood so I was involuntarily unplugged for a while.  Just cable.  Not power.

    It was actually sort of nice.


    Jury ends third day of deliberations (none / 0) (#49)
    by Peter G on Mon Aug 20, 2018 at 05:38:33 PM EST
    at 6:15 p.m. (once deliberations begin, judges typically let the jury set its own schedule, so if they want to work 9 or 10 hours, that's up to them), with no new questions. Intriguing.

    Could it be (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Mon Aug 20, 2018 at 09:04:33 PM EST
    they are close to verdict but wanted to sleep on it....

    Or there is a possibly (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 20, 2018 at 09:09:37 PM EST
    persuadable hold-out.   Or the jurors are painstakingly trying to figure out which exhibits are relevant to each of the 18 counts.

    Why Weren't They Labeled Before? (none / 0) (#52)
    by RickyJim on Mon Aug 20, 2018 at 09:28:53 PM EST
    I can see why the judge wouldn't allow the prosecution label them after deliberations had started.  The defense might not agree with some of the labeling.  Maybe the prosecution was trying to do a snow job and didn't try to spoon feed the evidence to the jury by clearly labeling the documents before they were entered into evidence.

    No exhibit can be "labeled" in a way (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Peter G on Mon Aug 20, 2018 at 10:21:46 PM EST
    that is argumentative, or expresses one side's view of the significance or implications of the exhibit. And certainly not after the parties have rested their cases. As you conceded yesterday, RJ, you don't support the American system of jury trials or the legal theory on which that system is based. (Justice Scalia, on the other hand, joined in dissent by Justices Souter and Ginsburg, properly referred to the criminal jury as the "spinal column of American democracy.") So your many questions and suggestions that things be done differently are really irrelevant to the real world of trials in federal criminal cases.

    I Only Suggested (none / 0) (#54)
    by RickyJim on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 08:52:55 AM EST
    that they should have been labeled according to the charge(s) for which they are relevant, as the jury later requested.  At the time of entry, the defense could object to a particular label.  Bringing up my disdain for the adversary system is not relevant.  

    The original sin (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 10:12:21 AM EST
    was not allowing them to publish or show the exhibits during trial. Which is curious because the federal courts have been in the vanguard of video equipment in the courtroom with monitors at counsel table, and in front of the jury and witness box.

    You need to pop up the exhibit in front of the jury and have a witness walk them through the relevant portions during trial. Laser pointers to further help direct jury'attention. In an age of Power Point presentations being the norm, this Judge did it real old school.

    Your critiques of the jury system have been addressed imo by having counsel and especially expert witnesses make use of visual demonstrations, charts and summaries. This Judge did not allow this during the evidence phase of the trial.  Very odd.

    It is unfair and limiting to make a jury absorb and understand complex law and facts by just listening to oral testimony and instructions. Modern trial advocates can help the jury tremedously if allowed to do their job.

    Here, I would guess the jury is diligently going through the exhibits and matching them to the testimony they recorded in their notes.


    From artist sketches (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 09:34:29 AM EST
    of the jury, they are all white. 9 women, 7 men (4 alternates, which seems quite a few for amedium lenght trial.) They looked to dressed like professionals. Middle aged.

    The Jury Appears to Have Decided (none / 0) (#57)
    by CoralGables on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 10:54:37 AM EST
    on 17 of the 18 counts. I suspect the conclusion will come sometime today.

    Latest From WaPo (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by RickyJim on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:08:56 AM EST
    Around 11 a.m. of the panel's fourth day of deliberations, a note with a question came from the jury foreman, asking how jurors should fill out the verdict form "if we cannot come to a consensus on a single count," said U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III. The jury also asked what that would mean for the final verdict, Ellis said.

    Though the meaning of the note wasn't entirely clear from its wording, the judge apparently took the panel's note to mean that they are stuck on a single count, not all of them.

    Ellis said the note was "not an exceptional or unusual event in a jury trial," and he distributed to the lawyers an instruction he proposed giving to jurors.

    He said he first planned to read his proposed instruction, though he would later likely asked jurors whether they had reached a unanimous decision on other counts, and, if so, where they stood on those.

    The judge took a five minute recess to let the lawyers consider his proposed instruction.

    And Ellis Didn't Ask Them to Clarify! (none / 0) (#63)
    by RickyJim on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:45:40 AM EST
    From CNN
    "It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so," Judge T.S. Ellis said. He encouraged each juror to make their own decisions on each count, but if some were in the minority on a decision, they could think about what the other jurors believe.
    Give "deference" to each other and "listen to each others' arguments."
    "You're the exclusive judges," he added. "Take all the time which you feel is necessary."

    Would it have been against the rules?? snark

    Yep (none / 0) (#59)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:28:31 AM EST
    And Cohen will either deal or die by the end of the day.

    Trump subpoena by Friday ?


    Don't jump the gun (none / 0) (#60)
    by CoralGables on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:34:18 AM EST
    But I can see Cohen ready to negotiate if Manafort is found guilty on 17 of 18. He'll clam up for the duration if Manafort is found not guilty on 17 of 18.

    I'm thinkin (none / 0) (#61)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:38:58 AM EST

    Actually (none / 0) (#62)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:40:12 AM EST
    It was just reported Cohen is in final stages of negotiating an agreement

    And would almost certainly be known by evening


    17 Guilties and a Cohen Plea Deal (none / 0) (#64)
    by CoralGables on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:54:55 AM EST
    would make for Trump's worst day yet (and there is a lot of competition for that title).

    But again, things don't always turn out the way we might prefer.


    I will gladly take (none / 0) (#65)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 11:59:49 AM EST
    8 guilty 7 hung

    9/9 10/8 8/10 (none / 0) (#66)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 12:01:53 PM EST

    CNN reporting more on the Cohen deal.


    Seven of the eight verdicts returned ... (none / 0) (#78)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 05:32:38 PM EST
    ... by the jury were for bank and tax fraud, and were arguably the most serious charges Manafort faced.

    Coupled with Michael Cohen's plea agreement on eight felonies, including an admission in court that he arranged illegal payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal at the expressed direction of a "candidate for federal office" to influence a federal election, there's no way for Donald Trump's lawyers to spin this afternoon's events as anything but a major body blow to their client, who's now squarely sited in Robert Mueller's legal crosshairs.

    If Trump's going to make a move against the Special Counsel, it had better be really soon -- like within the next week. Even then, it may be too late.



    Never say no way (none / 0) (#79)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 05:39:36 PM EST
    Rudy written statement

    "There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government's charges against Mr Cohen...."


    Have reached a verdict on 8 of the 18 (none / 0) (#67)
    by CoralGables on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 03:26:59 PM EST
    Not sure how to translate that.

    CNN (none / 0) (#68)
    by FlJoe on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 03:35:39 PM EST
    reporting mistrial on ten counts, with guilty verdict on at least one charge.

    Now (none / 0) (#69)
    by FlJoe on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 03:37:06 PM EST
    it's guilty on eight counts.

    More than enough (none / 0) (#70)
    by Peter G on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 03:41:03 PM EST
    The govt will voluntarily dismiss the other ten, if the judge lets the eight guilties stand.

    Holy (none / 0) (#71)
    by FlJoe on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 03:53:38 PM EST
    Moly, Cohen directly implicates tRump in his plea to campaign finance violations.

    Yes he does (none / 0) (#72)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 03:56:45 PM EST
    2 counts.  7 and 8

    The two high profile women.  Which means among other things Trump just left the ability to "fire his way out of this" in the dust.

    Difficult to fire the SDNY.


    What if Manafort appeals and wins on the 8 guilty? (none / 0) (#76)
    by ding7777 on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 04:40:55 PM EST
    Can the government recharge at a later date if they dismiss the other 10?

    As to appeal of the judgment on the (none / 0) (#77)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 05:15:22 PM EST
    eight verdicts of guilty, the appellate courts could affirm any or all, reverse any or all and remand to trial court, or (highly unlikely) remand to trial court with order trial court to dismiss and or all.

    IMO, unless defendant waives appeal, prosecution will not dismiss hung counts pending finality of any appeal.


    It is my understanding that all counts (none / 0) (#87)
    by Peter G on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 09:19:16 PM EST
    in the indictment must be resolved -- by conviction, acquittal or dismissal -- before an appealable judgment of sentence can be imposed on the counts of conviction. Although I believe there are a couple of courts that have disagreed with this interpretation.

    Yes, dismissed counts can be reinstated (none / 0) (#86)
    by Peter G on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 09:15:37 PM EST
    within the statute of limitations, plus an added six months.

    I've now heard twice that (none / 0) (#80)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 06:23:59 PM EST
    Because of a "quirk" in sentencing guidelines the behaviour described in the hung counts can still be considered in sentencing and could mean the sentence could be the same as if he was convicted on all counts.

    This seems a bit weird.

    Even a bit unfair


    Well, it is certainly unfair, but (none / 0) (#84)
    by Peter G on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 08:51:22 PM EST
    Manafort lawyer (none / 0) (#75)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 04:16:24 PM EST
    Does not mention appeal.  Thanks the judge for a fair trial and says he is "considering all his options"

    No doubt like, do I want to spend another fortune to buy another 10 years in DC.

    Manafort spokesperson states--appeal. (none / 0) (#81)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 07:42:49 PM EST
    Considering (none / 0) (#83)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 07:50:12 PM EST
    Among other things the judge, lots of luck with that.

    The trial judge doesn't have discretion (none / 0) (#88)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 22, 2018 at 02:01:30 PM EST
    to bar defendant appealing the judgment to the best of my knowledge.

    I think what Howdy was misunderstanding (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by Peter G on Wed Aug 22, 2018 at 03:26:49 PM EST
    is that the kind of "appeal" we are talking about is taken to a higher and different court, with different judges. We were not referrring to any sort of "appeal" to Judge Ellis to set aside the jury verdict (in federal court, that would be called a "motion for new trial"). As to the latter, I agree with "lots of luck."

    Not what I meant (none / 0) (#89)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 22, 2018 at 03:23:23 PM EST
    I am sure he could make a deal now (none / 0) (#85)
    by Peter G on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 09:09:52 PM EST
    to resolve the pending D.D.C. indictment in a package with the current E.D.Va. case. But that deal would almost necessarily include a promise to waive his right to appeal the E.D.Va. guilty verdicts. Not predicting that he would, but just mentioning this as a possibility. Remember a week or two ago, when we were discussing the ongoing trial, that most of the judge's fishy rulings tended to favor the defense, not the government, which greatly reduces Manafort's chances of appeal. On the other hand, the most important legal ruling was Judge Ellis' pretrial decision upholding the constitutionality and other legal validity of the special prosecutor's appointment ... but only because he felt he was bound by precedent to rule that way. Ellis made clear that (and explained why) he believed that precedent was wrong, and that in fact the special prosecutor's appointment was unlawful. That ruling is eminently appealable (after sentencing, by the way, which is when a federal criminal appeal can be taken). The Fourth Circuit, with two newly-appointed Tr*mp judges, might throw the case out entirely, to be frank.

    Peter (5.00 / 8) (#91)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 22, 2018 at 05:41:26 PM EST
    I just want to thank you for taking the time and having the patience to deal with those of us who are "laypeople" when it comes to the law. Thanks.

    I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it (5.00 / 7) (#92)
    by Peter G on Wed Aug 22, 2018 at 07:39:42 PM EST
    I like teaching. But thanks for saying so, GA6. I do appreciate your comment. And I firmly believe there is almost nothing too technical in this area for an interested, intelligent, lay person to understand, if something (like me, or J) takes a little time to think about how to explain it clearly and accurately, without jargon but also without oversimplification, hype, or twisting due to bias. But I have to believe that people are reading what I write and finding it useful, if I am to continue.

    The Breakdown of the Verdict (none / 0) (#82)
    by RickyJim on Tue Aug 21, 2018 at 07:47:25 PM EST
    5 counts income tax fraud - guilty on all;
    4 counts failure to report foreign bank accounts - 1 guilty, 3 NV;
    4 counts bank fraud - 2 guilty, 2 NV;
    5 counts conspiracy to commit bank fraud - NV on all.

    If somebody sees an article that explains the charges and verdict, please post the link.  TIA

    One jury holdout (none / 0) (#93)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 23, 2018 at 08:01:58 AM EST
    Entirely believable account (none / 0) (#94)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 23, 2018 at 09:24:21 AM EST
    The requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and the requirement for a unanimous jury (of twelve) are interconnected. If the jury has been properly selected, and correctly instructed by the judge, then the honest disagreement of one juror with the other eleven can be presumed to be as reasonable as any other. That one vote alone can rightly be understood as proof that the government has not met its burden beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus properly prevents conviction.

    The "quirk" in the (none / 0) (#95)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 23, 2018 at 10:24:46 AM EST
    Sentencing guidelines makes a bit more sense.

    In a perfect world


    Link to Complete Interview (none / 0) (#97)
    by RickyJim on Thu Aug 23, 2018 at 10:46:06 AM EST
    Here.  From what I can tell, the lone holdout juror on the 10 NV charges was only able to say over and over that she had reasonable doubt.  If I were the holdout, I would be able to say exactly why I thought it was reasonable that Manafort might not have done what he was charged with.

    But the hold-out voted (none / 0) (#109)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 29, 2018 at 12:44:02 AM EST
    to convicted on other counts....Very strange.

    Not at all strange. Strongly suggests (none / 0) (#111)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 31, 2018 at 05:02:58 PM EST
    a brokered "compromise" inside the jury room. Or an utterly intellectually honest juror who harbored a genuine doubt on some counts and not on others. For whatever reason. Either theory suffices.

    And for the record, juror Paula Duncan ... (none / 0) (#98)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 23, 2018 at 11:07:36 AM EST
    ... disclosed on Fox News last night that she was a Trump supporter who was initially skeptical of the charges against Manafort, but was eventually swayed by the sheer volume and compelling nature of the evidence against him to vote for his conviction on all 18 counts.

    Who else thinks they will announce (none / 0) (#108)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 28, 2018 at 08:27:55 PM EST
    Tomorrow they are going to go after those 10 counts again that the jury hung on?

    The 11-1 notes seem like a suggestion they should

    It would certainly add pressure (none / 0) (#110)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 29, 2018 at 06:09:42 AM EST
    on Manafort to cut a deal. Although with the leak-free Mueller office, a deal could already be in place and no one would know.

    Isn't today also sentencing day for the first trial?