The judge in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial for bank and tax fraud revealed in open court on Friday that he has received death threats, and is now traveling with the protection of the US Marshals Service.
“I have the marshal’s protection,” Ellis said. “I don’t even go to the hotel alone. I won’t even reveal the name of the hotel.”
“I had no idea this case excited this emotion in the public,” he added.
Judge: "I've received criticism and threats. I can imagine they would, too."— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) August 18, 2018
He explains that some jurors would have requested to be excused if they had known that sitting on the jury would've made their names be exposed. pic.twitter.com/PouFWRrTdZ
Manafort also refused to release the names of the jurors at the request of a coalition of news organizations, citing safety reasons. The Washington Post, New York Times, AP, CNN, NBC, Politico and Buzzfeed all requested the names of jurors deliberating in the Manafort case.
“I don’t feel it’s right if I release their names,” said Ellis.
BREAKING: #Manaforttrial judge won’t release names of jurors citing safety reasons. Says he is under 24/7 US Marshals protection after threats and said “I had no idea this case excited this emotion in the public.”— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) August 17, 2018
Meanwhile, the jurors told Ellis in a Friday afternoon note that they are unlikely to reach a verdict before the weekend, and would like to leave at 5 p.m. so one of the jurors can attend an event. Ellis said he would reconvene court at 10 minutes to 5 p.m. to discuss when they would like to reconvene on Monday.
Kevin Downing, an attorney for Manafort, told The Hill that he sees the note as a signal the jury will not reach a verdict on Friday. -The Hill
On Thursday, the jury asked Ellis to redefine reasonable doubt, and had additional questions about reporting foreign bank transactions, shelf companies, filing requirements related to income and what evidence relates to each charge.