The Wall Street Journal: Manafort’s attorneys had sought mistrial over ju…

The Wall Street Journal: Manafort’s attorneys had sought mistrial over ju…

Manafort’s attorneys had sought mistrial over juror’s comment

Paul Manafort’s defense attorneys unsuccessfully moved for a mistrial after at least one juror was overheard by a fellow juror talking about the quality of the case before they had begun deliberating, court transcripts unsealed Wednesday show.

The issue arose on Aug. 10, when a juror told a court security officer she had heard the other juror say she didn’t believe Manafort’s defense had much of a case. The tip caused a day-long delay in the trial, which ended Tuesday when Manafort was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud, with jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.

“Basically my understanding was that she had essentially made up her mind regarding the case based on the information presented to her thus far,” the first juror told U.S. Judge T.S. Ellis during a private discussion with attorneys on both sides. The juror said she reminded her colleague they hadn’t heard all the evidence and shouldn’t be drawing conclusions.

Defense attorneys were disturbed to learn from the juror that others also may have talked among themselves about the case. The revelation led Judge Ellis to interview the juror in question, who denied having made up her mind, as well as the other jurors who claimed not to have heard any conversations about the case. Ellis ultimately denied the request.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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