ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Heading into a second day of deliberations Friday, Paul Manafort’s jury is learning quickly that the presiding judge has few indulgences for them.
When the 12-person panel paused their efforts just before 5 p.m. Thursday to have four issues clarified by the court, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III shut down two of their questions.
Declining to define the term “shelf company,” Ellis told the jury to rely on their own memory of the evidence.
Over the course of Manafort’s nearly two-week trial, the term came up in the testimony of several financiers who took the stand for the government, as well as that of star witness Rick Gates. They spoke about a shelf company created by a lawyer in Cypus to control several foreign bank accounts for Manafort that he failed to disclose to U.S. tax authorities.
Judge Ellis also turned down a request by the jury for an updated exhibit list, saying they must rely on their memories to connect exhibits to charges.
One question that Ellis did answer was their request for a definition of reasonable doubt. He said the term is defined by “a doubt based on reason” and emphasized that the government is not obligated to prove guilt “beyond all possible doubt.”
Defense attorney Richard Westling told jurors in his closing statement a day earlier that it isn’t enough to believe that Manafort is “likely guilty” or even that it is “highly likely” he is guilty.
The jury also asked the court to explain some of the finer points behind foreign bank account registration, or FBAR forms.
Evincing a possible focus on what responsibility Manafort’s wife might have had with regard to the accounts, the jury asked if someone is required to fill out an FBAR form if they own less than 50 percent of a foreign bank account and don’t have signatory authority – but do have access to direct disbursement.