Trump says former campaign chief Manafort "good person"

Microphones are set up in front of the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse as the jury begins deliberation in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

"I've received criticism and threats", Ellis said.

The federal trial in Virginia is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 15-month-old investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 United States presidential election. But the president's absence is strictly intentional. "I think there would be a substantial amount of people afraid.to do so would create a risk of harm to them".

Another headline on Friday that might grab the attention of jurors: Ellis disclosing that he personally had received threats related to the trial and was being protected by US marshals.

The judge presiding over Paul Manafort's federal fraud and tax crime trial said on Friday that he travels with the protection of USA marshalls after receiving threats.

Donald Trump's musings on the Paul Manafort trial may not have much an effect on the outcome, experts say. Manafort also was charged with receiving loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors. Doing so could provide information that may potentially incriminate those in Trump's inner circle or even Trump himself, depending on if any laws were broken within the Trump campaign.

Manafort's defense team, which rested its case without calling any witnesses to testify, said the prosecution failed to sufficiently prove Manafort's guilt.

However, the trial "might end soon", Ellis told reporters later. In closing arguments, defence attorney Richard Westling listed all of the Republican presidents and national candidates that Manafort had advised to show his bona fides as a "highly regarded political consultant".

Trump made his comments while the jurors, mulling 18 criminal counts against Manafort, deliberated behind closed doors on Friday morning.

"A thirsty press is essential in a free country", Ellis said.

For a moment, as spectators swiveled around, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Trump, no relation, had the courtroom's rapt attention.

Manafort was forced to step down from the Trump campaign when questions emerged about his work for Yanukovych.

The case went to the jury on Thursday after 12 days of gripping testimony about hidden bank accounts, betrayal and lavish spending by Manafort on luxury homes, cars, antique rugs and clothes including an $18,500 python jacket.

"We'll try to do it in a discreet way, but it's hard to take out those facts, if not impossible", prosecutor Greg Andres said during a later hearing.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed to give them four additional days. Meanwhile President Trump watches from afar, commenting when he feels it is necessary. While allegations of collusion are still being investigated, evidence of bank fraud and tax evasion unearthed during the probe has cast doubt on the integrity of Trump's closest advisers during the campaign.

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