The trial against Paul Manafort for money laundering and tax evasion has entered the jury's deliberations. Kevin Johnson reports from Alexandria, Virginia.
ALESSANDRIA, Virginia – A jury of the federal court in the process of financial fraud of the former Trump's campaign president Paul Manafort sent a note to Judge Tuesday suggesting that they might have trouble reaching consensus on at least one count.
The note asked the judge what they should do if they could not reach a unanimous decision on a single count. It is not uncommon for jurors to have a divided decision, coming to a consensus on some points of view and not on others.
But it is unclear whether the jury had come to a conclusion on the other counts while asking only for a single count of the 18 criminal charges against Manafort.
In the note, the jury asked: "If we can not reach a consensus on a single count, how to fill out the jury verdict form for that count?"
"And what would it mean for the final verdict?"
US District Judge TS Ellis III reconvened the commission in the open field and urged them to continue an attempt to reach a "unanimous" decision on all points.
In his instructions, Ellis reminded jurors that they are the supreme judges in the case.
"You are not a partisan," Ellis said, adding that "your only mission is to seek the truth."
Outside the jury's presence, Ellis said that if the panel still fails to make a decision, he will ask w if they have reached a decision on the other counts and then "consider" the acceptance of that verdict.
"This is not uncommon," Ellis told lawyers.
As the afternoon passed, journalists read books and newspapers inside the classroom while others worked on crossword puzzles and sudoku puzzles waiting for any word from the jurors.
Television photographers lined up in front of the court Albert V. Bryan erected umbrellas on their equipment while the skies turned gray. They ran away when a strong storm passed through the area.
The jury, six men and six women, reported to the courtroom on the ninth floor at 9:30 EDT on Tuesday, where Ellis released them quickly to resume their fourth day of discussions.
On Monday, the jury extended its work for more than one hour, an indication that the jurors may have been close to a decision, but were rejected by Ellis at about 6:15 pm  Although the charges against Manafort are not related to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, the trial is an important initial test for special adviser Robert Mueller.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation. On Friday, he praised Manafort and said that what Mueller's team was doing to his former campaign president was "very sad".
Comments drew criticism that the president was trying to influence the jury's decision while they were deliberating Manafort's fate.
Trump continued his attacks on Monday, calling Mueller "disgraced and discredited" in a series of posts on Twitter, then defended his comments as fighting against what he called a "witch hunt".
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During the trial, prosecutors tried to throw Manafort as a serial "liar" in a scheme of years to hide millions of dollars in 31 foreign bank accounts and get more millions in a series of fraudulent bank loans. They offered documents and witnesses who testified that Manafort lied about his income and debt while looking for bank loans and directing his associates to the doctor's papers.
Prosecutors showed in minute details the lavish life that drove Manafort, hoping to show that he lived beyond his means and used money from fraudulent loans to pay for his houses, expensive cars and luxurious closets full of clothes on measure.
Photographs of suits and jackets were released to the public during the trial, including one depicting a $ 15,000 ostrich jacket.
Manafort lawyers have accused prosecutors of being involved in "selective" judicial proceedings. They attacked the credibility of Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, who testified against his former colleague.
But his lawyers have not called any witness or offered any evidence in the defense of Manafort, relying on the discredit of the case and hoping that the jurors would have concluded the prosecutors did not meet the burden of proof to condemn Manafort.
Manafort faces 18 criminal counts of bank fraud and tax evasion. If found guilty on all fronts, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
He will face another trial next month in Washington, where he will face charges centered on allegations of lying to the FBI, money laundering and foreign lobbying. In this case, he faces another 20 years in prison.
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