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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Manafort jury asks judge to leave early on second day of deliberations 

Judge refused to release names of jurors over safety fears

Paul Manafort, business partner Rick Gates were indicted in October by Mr Mueller’s office on charges including conspiracy to launder money. 
Paul Manafort, business partner Rick Gates were indicted in October by Mr Mueller’s office on charges including conspiracy to launder money. 

The jury in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign manager asked the judge to be released at 5 pm US eastern time on Friday because one of its members had a social engagement.

The 12-person jury for Paul Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial sent the judge a request toward the end of its second day of deliberating.

U.S. District Judge TS Ellis III said he would ask jurors what time they wanted to reconvene on Monday morning.

Mr Manafort faces 18 counts on tax evasion and fraud changes in the first trial relation to the FBI's Russia investigation, headed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Prosecutors accuse Mr Manafort of a complex effort to hide millions of dollars in income from Ukrainian politicians.

Mr Ellies earlier refused to release the names of jurors, saying he has received threats and fears for their safety as well.

The judge said he is currently under the protection of U.S. marshals. He declined to delve into specifics, but said he's been taken aback by the level of interest in the trial.

President Trump earlier said the case was "sad" and described Mr Manafort as a "good person."

If convicted on all counts, Mr Manafort could face a sentence of up to 305 years in prison based on the maximum for each count, with the most serious charge carrying up to 30 years. However, if convicted, he likely would be given between seven and 12 years, according to a range of estimates from three sentencing experts interviewed by Reuters.

Meanwhile Mr Mueller recommended in a court filing on Friday that a judge sentence former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed, but respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration, within the applicable guidelines range of zero to six months imprisonment is appropriate and warranted," Mr Mueller said in the filing.

Mr Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to FBI agents investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 7.

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Read more:

Jury ends first day of deliberations in Manafort trial

Russia probe ‘unfairly’ ensnared Manafort, claims defence in closing arguments

Paul Manafort defence rests without calling any witnesses

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