The judge overseeing the trial of U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort says he has received threats and is being guarded by deputy U.S. Marshals.
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis told reporters Friday the marshals "go where I go," adding, "I don't even go to the hotel alone; I don't give the name of the hotel."
Reporters on Friday pressed Ellis to release the names of the jurors, but the judge rejected that request, citing security concerns. Ellis said if he released their names, the jurors could be threatened as well, and said he wants to protect their "peace and safety."
Jurors ended their second day of deliberations Friday a half-hour early, without reaching a verdict. They sent a note to the judge asking to wrap up at 5 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m. because a juror had an event to attend, the Associated Press reported. They return Monday morning.
Trump said Friday that the trial of Manafort is "sad."
"I think the whole Manafort trial is very said, when you look at what's going on there," Trump told reporters Friday at the White House. "He worked for me for a very short period of time, but you know what? He happens to be a very good person. And I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."
Trump was asked about a possible pardon for the 69-year-old Manafort, but the president declined to answer that question.
The six-man, six-woman jury began their deliberations behind closed doors Thursday in a Virginia courthouse, during which they asked the judge four questions, including clarification of the meaning of "reasonable doubt." Under U.S. law, the guilt of the accused must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" or there can be no conviction.
Other questions delved into specific details of the tax and bank fraud case.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers presented their closing arguments Wednesday, the prosecution arguing Manafort's life was "littered with lies" as he bought palatial mansions, expensive suits, cars, electronics and other high-priced items.
"Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and he lied to get more money when he didn't," prosecutor Greg Andres said.
But defense attorney Richard Westling told the jury Manafort should be acquitted because the government had not met its burden to prove that Manafort was "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
Westling said that is the reason the defense decided to rest its case without calling any witnesses to testify, including Manafort himself.
Westling attacked the government's contention that Manafort hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts to avoid U.S. taxes so he could fund the luxurious purchases. He said Manafort had an adjusted net worth of $21.3 million at the end of 2016.
"Given this evidence, how can we say he didn't have money?" Westling said.
Westling also attacked the prosecution's star witness — Manafort's former deputy chairman in the Trump campaign, Rick Gates — as a liar and a thief.
Gates had already pleaded guilty before Manafort's trial to helping him hide millions in income from U.S. tax authorities and is awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutor Andres alleges that overall, Manafort "failed to pay taxes on more than $15 million" in income.
Much of the money, the government alleges, came from Manafort's lobbying for deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was toppled in a popular 2014 uprising in Kyiv before fleeing to exile in Russia.
The case has drawn particular interest in the U.S. because it is the first trial conducted by Mueller's prosecutors in their wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
They are probing whether Trump associates conspired with Russia to help Trump win the White House and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the investigation.
However, the case against Manafort, a long-time Washington lobbyist, only peripherally touched on the campaign. Instead, it dealt almost totally on accusations about his financial transactions and what he did with the money from Yanukovych and the bank loans.