- 17 августа, 22:01
- POLITICO. Top Stories
The federal judge overseeing the Paul Manafort fraud trial signaled Friday afternoon a reluctance to publicly identify the jurors, saying they were “scared” and “afraid” and adding, “I’m not going to reveal any threats.”
“I had no idea this case would incite this emotion,” U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said in an open court hearing, responding to a motion from seven news organizations, including POLITICO, seeking access to sealed materials related to the trial.
Ellis said he didn’t “feel right” releasing the names of the 12-person jury that has been deliberating since Thursday morning in Manafort’s trial on charges of bank and tax fraud.
The three-week case in Alexandria, Virginia, against the former Trump campaign chairman is special counsel Robert Mueller’s first to reach trial, and it has drawn dozens of reporters from U.S. and international outlets each day to cover its every turn.
Ellis earlier this week advised the jurors to be careful after they’d reached the verdict in revealing details about their deliberations when they are queried by the media.
The exchange about the jurors came amid a hearing on Friday involving news organizations seeking several sealed transcripts from bench conferences during the trial, as well as other documents filed in the case that aren’t public.
Ellis said much of the material would be released after the Manafort trial was finished and added that he was in “complete sympathy” with the media’s concerns — specifically about his repeated moves to hold private conferences with the attorneys in the case out of earshot of the public and with a white-noise machine blotting out their conversations.
As he ended the hearing, however, Ellis convened a bench conference with Mueller’s prosecutors and Manafort’s defense attorneys.