The bank and tax fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was abruptly recessed Friday morning, casting doubt that the government could rest its case by day’s end.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who huddled privately with prosecutors and defense lawyers at the bench for most of the morning, excused the jury until 1:45 p.m., and did not reveal the reason for the delay.
Before adjourning, Ellis offered an unusually emphatic instruction to the jurors that they should not discuss the case with others or among themselves until all the evidence was in.
Ellis also reminded the panel that Manafort, who was seated at the defense table, is presumed innocent of the 18 criminal counts lodged against him.
The judge has not generally offered such pointed instructions during daily breaks.
On Thursday, prosecutors told Ellis that they were on course to wrap up their case, as they had planned to call at least four witnesses before concluding.
The witnesses are expected to provide testimony about the terms of another disputed 2016 loan from a Chicago bank.
Source: Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
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