After 10 days of court hearings the jury panel, which consists of six men and six women, could not take a verdict on Paul Manafort’s case, a former adviser to Donald Trump and former political strategist of Viktor Yanukovych. The jurors have been discussing the charges against Manafort for seven hours, but did not reach an agreement in terms of punishment.
Before the end of the first day of a possible verdict discussion, the jury asked the judge what does the term “reasonable doubt” mean, since their conclusion should be based on firm conviction. The existence of “reasonable doubt” for the conviction of the defendant is unacceptable, reports Pryamyi. In addition, the jury handed a list of issues that require additional clarifications, in particular Manafort’s tax return and his accounts with overseas banks. Since the verdict was not presented to the jury, the discussion will be postponed to the next day.
According to US law, the jurors must separately consider and vote unanimously on 18 charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud and foreign accounts concealment.
In turn, Manafort’s lawyers called the issue of the jury a good sign. “In general, this is a very good day for Mr. Manafort,” said his lawyer, Kevin Downing.
Jean Byrd, partner at the law firm Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, expressed concern about the ability of the jury to make a unanimous sentence to Paul Manafort. “On the one hand, we have a serious evidence base, many documents prove the guilt of Manafort. Even his attorney said that his client provided false information to his accountant. He did not do intentionally, but he did it. On the other hand, if even 1 of 12 members of the jury decides that this case is politically motivated, then he can “hang jury” (hang jury), in other words, do not allow the jury to reach unanimous decision. If we do not have a verdict at the beginning of the next week yet, then it will be considered as a reason for worrying. It means that something is happening, something that prevents them from reaching a unanimous decision”, – reports Radio Svoboda.
It should be reminded that Paul Manafort accused of money laundering and tax evasion for 10 years of cooperation with the former Ukrainian leadership. The investigation believes that Manafort earned more than $ 60 million for being a political adviser in Ukraine, but officially declared revenues in the amount of $ 14 million during 2010-2014.
If Manafort’s guilt by all 18 allegations is proven, he will be imprisoned for 305 years.