The Manafort trial: Guilty on 8 counts
Terry Farrar, the wife of the former US Ambassador to Panama, has been attending the Paul Manafort trial since it started 14 days ago (barring a few days she was called for grandma duty by one of her four grandchildren).
Farrar said this is her first trial — which is easy for her to attend since she lives across the street. While in the courtroom, Farrar has been knitting blankets to donate to her church.
"My hands always have to be busy. I hate to waste time, I have to be productive," she said.
Every time Farrar has entered the courthouse she has followed the procedure of forgoing electronics and going through security.
Today, however, something different happened.
After the jury was sent back to resume deliberations, two US Marshals pulled Farrar out of the courtroom and into the hallway.
"They told me I was not allowed to have my sewing materials in court with me," Farrar said.
Farrar had brought plastic knitting needles with her to work on blankets during court. "They think it could be used as a weapon," even though she added, "they said I don't fit the profile."
To illustrate her small size, Farrar recalled how government officials, who worked for her husband, used to use her for weightlifting practice.
"I'm less than 100 pounds," Farrar said, "they used to use me as a weight."
The US Marshals ushered her downstairs to run her bag through the courthouse security checkpoint again, and put her bag through the x-ray machine.
"They said they didn't understand how it had gotten through," Farrar said.
Her materials have been confiscated (security is holding the knitting needles for her downstairs), but Farrar said she is determined to keep sewing. She plans to use her fingers to crochet.
Farrar has used her blanket making as a marker for how long the trial has gone on.
"I call it a 'four blanket trial,' hopefully it won't be a five blanket trial," she said.
The judge presiding over the trial of Paul Manafort said he's received "threats" and is not willing to disclose jurors' names and addresses requested by media outlets.
"I don't feel right if I release their names," Judge T.S. Ellis said.
Ellis did not disclose details about the threats in a hearing Friday. But he said it was enough to make him wary of making the 12 jurors and four alternates' names public. The jury has not yet reached a verdict and is currently deliberating for the second day.
"I've received criticism and threats. I'd imagine they would to," he told an attorney representing seven media organizations at a hearing Friday.
"I had no idea myself this case would arouse such public interest. I still am surprised," Ellis said.
He added that the US Marshals Service follows him everywhere, even to his hotel — which he presumably stays in when court is in session because he lives outside of Northern Virginia. The jurors don't have that protection, and Ellis even keeps secret the name of his hotel, he said.
He also noted that making the jurors' names public in such a high-profile case could chill future potential jurors in similarly watched cases from wanting to serve.
The media attorney, Matthew Kelley from the law firm Ballard Spahr, argued that the appeals court governing the area says juror names should be made public except in special circumstances.
Paul Manafort, his defense team and prosecutors are in the courtroom for the 2 p.m. ET hearing on motions brought by CNN and other media to unseal some sealed parts of the trial, as well as the names of jurors.
The judge had asked the team, including Manafort, to attend.
President Trump on Friday characterized the trial that is ongoing against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as "very sad."
But asked if he would pardon Manafort, Trump answered, "I don't talk about that."
He went on to criticize the trial, in which Manafort is facing multiple charges, including bank fraud.
"I think the whole Manafort trial is sad," Trump said. "I think it's a very sad day for our country. He worked for a me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person. I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."
Judge T.S. Ellis said he will hold a hearing after 2 p.m. ET today on a motion by CNN and other media organizations to unseal the names and addresses of jurors, as well as other parts of the trial that are currently secret.
The judge says he plans to make public all bench conferences currently under seal with one exception — likely the part of the trial where the Special Counsel's office discussed information about their ongoing investigation.
"A thirsty press is essential in a free country," Ellis said.
Some names and medical information may also be redacted from what is ultimately unsealed.
The jury was sent back to resume deliberations at 9:38 a.m. ET.
With that, the jury has now entered its second day of deliberations.
The jury's first day of deliberations ended yesterday after they asked the judge four questions.
Those questions were...
And here's how Judge T.S. Ellis responded:
- On the tax questions: He told the courtroom Thursday he would instruct the jury to rely on their "collective recollection" regarding their questions on "shelf" companies and foreign banking filing requirements. He would give them no further answers on those points.
- On the definition of reasonable doubt: He said that the prosecutors had to prove their case not "beyond possible doubt," but beyond "doubt based on reason."
- On the question about exhibits: The jury had also asked if the court could match exhibit numbers to indictments. Ellis said the court could not amend the exhibit list.