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U.S. Jury Deciding Manafort Case Asks Judge What ‘Reasonable Doubt’ Means

The jury in the fraud trial of U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort ended its first day of deliberations after asking the judge to answer several questions, including how he defines "reasonable doubt."

The questions came after seven hours of deliberation on August 16 and were delivered in a handwritten note to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

In a U.S. criminal case such as Manafort’s, the jury must find a defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." Any reasonable doubts among jurors usually result in acquittals of the defendants.

Ellis told the jury that "reasonable doubt" is "a doubt based on reason." He added that "the government is not required to prove [guilt] beyond all possible doubt."

The jury also asked the judge questions about the list of exhibits used during the trial, rules for reporting foreign bank accounts, and the definition of "shelf companies" — a term for some of the foreign companies used by Manafort to hold income he earned from political consulting work in Ukraine.

Ellis told the jurors they need to rely on their collective memory of the evidence to answer most questions.

The jury is charged with reaching verdicts on 18 counts of tax and bank fraud that prosecutors leveled against Manafort, who they alleged earned $60 million advising pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, hid much of it from U.S. tax authorities, and then lied to banks to get loans when the money dried up.

Manafort’s defense countered that he wasn’t guilty because he left the details of his finances to bookkeepers and accountants on his staff.

Manafort’s trial is the first to emerge from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

Source: Radio Free Europe

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