Manafort Judge Fears for Jurors’ ‘Peace and Safety’

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said, “I’ve received criticism and threats. I imagine they would, too.” The jury resumes deliberations on Monday.

The judge in Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial has received threats and fears for the “peace and safety” of the jurors deciding the fate of the former Trump campaign chairman, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III discussed his concerns when explaining why he doesn’t intend to make jurors’ names public at the end of the trial. Jury lists are presumed to be public unless a judge articulates a reason for keeping them secret. “I’ve received criticism and threats,” Ellis said. “I imagine they would, too.” The judge said he is under the protection of U.S. marshals.

Jurors ended their second day of deliberations Friday without reaching a verdict. They return Monday morning. The trial is the first courtroom test of the Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. While the case doesn’t involve allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination by the Trump campaign, it has been closely watched by President Trump as he seeks to undermine Mueller’s probe. On Friday, Trump issued a fresh defense of Manafort and called him a “very good person.” Manafort is accused of hiding from the IRS millions that he made advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, and then lying to banks to get loans when the money dried up. He faces 18 felony counts on tax evasion and bank fraud.