Trump defends ex-aide Manafort as jury mulls over verdict

Jury in Paul Manafort trial poses questions about reasonable doubt

"I had no idea this case would excite these emotions, I will tell you frankly", Judge T.S. Ellis said in court, as the jury continued its second day of deliberations in the case. When he did offer thoughts on the trial moments later, he continued to attempt to put daylight between himself and his former campaign chair, telling reporters Manafort "worked for [him] for a very short period of time". But you know what?

On Friday, Trump issued a fresh defense of Manafort and called him a "very good person".

The commander in chief made it clear what he thought of the case earlier in the day, calling Manafort, 69, "a very good person" and his trial "sad" for the country.

The federal judge presiding over Paul Manafort's tax-evasion case confirmed Friday that he has received multiple death threats since the beginning of the trial; adding he now travels with US Marshals to ensure his safety. When asked whether he'd pardon Manafort, Trump said, "I don't talk about that, no".

"The fact that they are sending questions on reasonable doubt tells me that the group is divided", jury consultant Alexandra Rudolph said. If convicted on all the charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Manafort's defense says he isn't guilty because he left the detail of his finances to others, including his longtime deputy, Rick Gates, who was the government's star witness.

Judge T.S. Ellis III sent jurors home around 5 p.m. Friday.

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Jurors began their deliberations Thursday morning in the case against Manafort, who prosecutors say earned $60 million advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, hid much of it from the IRS and then lied to banks to get loans when the money dried up.

Manafort's fate now sits with the jury, and after two days of deliberations, anti-Trump media outlets like CNN are becoming concerned Manafort could be acquitted, which would be a major blow to Mueller's credibility and his ability to remove Trump from office - an outcome the establishment media are desperate to orchestrate.

The jurors also asked Ellis about when someone must disclose a foreign bank account to the Treasury Department, about the definition of a "shelf company" - an inactive company often sold to people aiming to bypass the registration process - and about the exhibit list.

The charges in D.C. could result in an even lengthier sentence than what Manafort faces in Virginia.

The trial against Manafort is not related to the activities he carried out from March-August 2016 as head of the Trump campaign, a post he was forced to resign after it emerged he had failed to declare $US12.7 million ($A17.4 million) he received from Yanukovich.

Judge Ellis expressed his fears after a coalition of media organisations filed a motion requesting the names of jurors after the trial - as well as access to sealed transcripts of bench conferences that have occurred during the three-week trial.

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