SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Judge to Manafort jury: Keep deliberating

After jurors in the Paul Manafort trial asked what would happen if they can't reach a consensus on one of the 18 counts Manafort is charged with, Judge T.S. Ellis told them to keep working.

Posted: Aug 22, 2018 2:12 AM
Updated: Aug 22, 2018 2:32 AM

The jury in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial is now in its fourth day of deliberations. Conventional wisdom would tell you that the longer the jury goes on without a decision, the better it is for Manafort.

That's certainly the idea being pushed by Manafort's side. Following the decision of the judge to send the jury home without a verdict on Monday night, Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing said this: "Mr. Manafort's very happy to hear that, and this was a very good day."

On its face, the logic here makes sense. If it was such an open-and-shut case, the jury would have come back with a guilty verdict on the first -- or, at the latest, second day -- of deliberations, right?

Wrong. Or, at least, very likely wrong.

While we non-lawyers have learned from the police prodecurals that flood our TV airwaves that extended jury deliberations signal some sort of deep divide within the jury that is always a good thing for the defense, actual lawyers -- like CNN's legal analyst Laura Coates -- see something far different at work in the extended deliberations.

And what they see is a deeply complex case, involving 18 charges of a variety of financial crimes that saw more than two dozen witnesses for the prosecution testify over 10 days.

"Since each charge has normally four or more elements, you can surmise that a jury of 12 would have to agree not to just 18 charges," explained Coates. "They have to agree that the government proved 72 things."

Which, if you think about it, nicely explains why the Manafort jury a) isn't done yet and b) isn't necessarily deeply divided about whether Manafort is guilty or not guilty of the charges against him.

Think of it this way. In a murder trial, the jury is tasked, typically, with answering just a simple question: Did he do it or not? While the stakes are incredibly high -- a murder conviction could mean anything from life in prison to the death penalty -- the question being asked of the jury is totally straightforward. Either the evidence presented proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the murder or it doesn't.

That's not at all the case here. Not only does the jury have to consider each and every charge, they also have to consider whether Manafort did it with malice or knowingly -- and whether the government proved he did so beyond any reasonable doubt. And they have to do it unanimously. (On Tuesday morning, the jury sent a note to the judge, asking what would happen if it can't reach consensus on one of the 18 counts it is deliberating. The judge responded that it is the jurors' duty to agree upon a verdict "if you can do so," without violating their own convictions.)

What the Manafort trial should remind us is that life is not like "Law and Order." Not every case is clear-cut. Not every defendant provides the smoking gun halfway through the trial. And not every jury renders a verdict just before the end of the hour.

This is an extremely complicated case -- in both subject matter and the charges being leveled at Manafort. Which is why no one should bemoan the time the jury is taking or draw any conclusions about what the time they are taking means for Manafort's chances of getting off.

Republican consultant Dan Hazelwood put that idea nicely on Twitter Monday night. "People declaring a theoretical verdict in the Manafort case as the sign of something evil being done make me ill," Hazelwood tweeted. "It looks like 12 citizens are being methodical and responsible to their civic duty. This is how the system works, stop attacking it."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 66333

Reported Deaths: 826
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15240213
Washington903896
Marion8436130
Clackamas547276
Umatilla415648
Lane389037
Jackson343623
Malheur231839
Deschutes195514
Yamhill158216
Linn127518
Polk107615
Douglas82215
Jefferson77311
Benton7197
Union7172
Klamath6854
Morrow6257
Lincoln56513
Wasco47918
Josephine4434
Columbia4383
Coos3901
Hood River3661
Clatsop3350
Baker2593
Crook1986
Grant1231
Tillamook1120
Curry1052
Lake1010
Harney871
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1128219

Reported Deaths: 18753
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3706367446
San Bernardino851761129
Riverside815651413
San Diego72815968
Orange711161554
Kern38519445
Fresno36315471
Sacramento33421546
Santa Clara31103464
Alameda27622499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22482258
Stanislaus20658418
Tulare19818303
Ventura18105174
Imperial15257355
San Francisco14542158
Monterey13887114
San Mateo13334169
Sonoma11486155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10946133
Kings1011586
Solano936380
Marin7560128
Placer607167
Madera588580
San Luis Obispo566435
Yolo425775
Shasta410042
Santa Cruz389627
Butte371259
Napa277817
Sutter267713
El Dorado19304
San Benito174615
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama145723
Mendocino142422
Nevada10529
Lake83418
Glenn8326
Humboldt7849
Tuolumne7848
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo27916
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Modoc1140
Trinity1140
Mariposa1122
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Scattered Clouds
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 46°
Brookings
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Few Clouds
35° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Grants Pass
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 46°
Klamath Falls
Few Clouds
35° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 30°
Rain & snow arrive this evening
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events