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Fri Aug 17, 2018, 01:07 AM

The four questions the Manafort jury asked the judge today....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/jury-begins-deliberations-in-paul-manaforts-tax--and-bank-fraud-trial/2018/08/16/d2b0f486-a170-11e8-8e87-c869fe70a721_story.html?utm_term=.ad59042f9641

1. if someone was required to file a form called an FBAR — which is required of people with foreign bank accounts containing more than $10,000 — if they owned less than 50 percent of such an account and did not have signature authority but did have the ability to direct disbursement. At trial, Manafort’s lawyers suggested their client might have believed he did not have to file such forms, because the companies in question were set up under his consulting firm. After 2011, he shared ownership of the firm equally with his wife. (The Judge said that along with the requirement for people who own more than 50 percent of a company with foreign bank accounts, a person must file FBARs if he “controls the disposition of money, funds, or other assets held in a financial account by direct communications.”)

2. if the judge could define “shelf company” and the filing requirements related to income. Witnesses testified at Manafort’s trial that he used so-called shelf companies — companies previously created by a lawyer in Cyprus that could be used to control the bank accounts in question — in order to move Manafort’s money. To that question, the judge said the jury would have to rely on their memory of the evidence presented at trial.

3. if the judge could “redefine reasonable doubt.” Jurors sometimes struggle with what constitutes a reasonable doubt of someone’s guilt, versus an unreasonable doubt. The judge told them reasonable doubt “is a doubt based on reason,” but added: “The government is not required to prove guilt beyond all possible doubt.”

4. if they could have an updated exhibit list, connecting each piece of evidence to the corresponding charge in the indictment. The judge said they would have to rely on their collective memory to link exhibits to specific charges.


The article says the defense attorney was happy about this. IMO, it's not good if they need a redefinition of reasonable doubt. Then again, it may mean nothing other than clarification, so they know going into the deliberations.

If they're having trouble matching the evidence to the charges, it could take them a while. It could also mean they don't understand all the evidence. This is complicated stuff.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 01:10 AM

1. the judge refused to allow exhibits to be presented contemporaneous to testimony

 

and surprise the jury got confused

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Response to RealNewzFakePrez (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 08:43 AM

7. If they can't match evidence to the testimony or charges....

it may as well not exist.

You mean the attorneys were not allowed to present Exhibit X during a witness's testimony and question the witness about it?

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 01:26 AM

2. The government is not required to prove guilt beyond all possible doubt.

 

This is an excellent point. One I'm happy to see the judge pointed out to the jury. One most people likely get wrong. Most people probably think the procescution has to remove ALL doubt to prove its case. It doesn't.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 05:40 AM

3. By shelf, did they mean shell? If so, they'Re clueless...

And it ain't no jury of my peers....

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Response to lindysalsagal (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 06:22 AM

5. They're different...

The shelf companies came up in the trial. They're companies that are established as any other company would be, but they have no activity whatsoever once created, other than filing periodic documents as required by the local authorities. They've been 'put on the shelf', so to speak. Since they are literally dormant, if someone needs a new company to handle something in a hurry, a shelf account can be purchased from whomever has control of it, dusted off quickly and re-purposed. I think Manafort was using shelf companies established by a law firm in Cyprus.

Shell companies don't actually engage in any kind of ongoing business operations. They can hold assets for other parties, however, and then transfer them out to other entities. If they were created with bad intent, often in small island nations with loose oversight, they tend to be way-stations for money going on the grand tour of the international banking system, in an effort to mask its origins.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 10:30 AM

12. Thank you for this explanation this had me confused last night.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 11:22 AM

14. Either is common here, esp for foreigners in FL

Allows them to establish and maintain residency

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Response to Princess Turandot (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 06:44 PM

15. OK thanks. Never heard of that one. It scared me. Glad it's all ok.

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Response to lindysalsagal (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 08:39 AM

6. No...it's "shelf."

A shelf corporation, shelf company, or aged corporation is a company or corporation that has had no activity. It was created and left with no activity – metaphorically put on the "shelf" to "age"


Wikipedia

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 05:42 AM

4. Actually, I think the FBAR question was encouraging for the prosecution...

They asked for clarification as to whether the 50% rule set in stone, no matter what had been done with those accounts. It's not surprising that they did so, since his attorneys were stressing that point.

My guess is that they saw the transfer of half-ownership as a fig-leaf, enabling Manafort to get around the IRS requirements on a technicality. (It might not have been so obvious if his wife hadn't been the other party ) The judge's response was that functional control of the accounts meant that he needed to report them. (I think the shelf company question may have been related to the FBAR question as well.)

Asking about reasonable doubt can go both ways. I think it's possible that they were asking for assurance that they did not need to satisfy themselves on every wild-ass but-what-if they could conjure up.

No questions directly about the tax charges or bank fraud, though. We'll know soon enough.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 08:49 AM

9. That's not how I saw it. Glass half full or half empty?

I saw it as just clarifying the rule. Although it's the case that Manafort set up his wife as owner, so he'd be less than 50% owner technically, the jury nonetheless considers that he owned less than 50% of the company. If he owned less than 50%, he didn't have control of the account, so those laws didn't apply to him. It could be that the jury was assuming the laws didn't apply to Manafort, or maybe one juror was looking for justification for thinking that.

If they can't have a rundown of evidence matched to charges, they might have to go through witness testimony, looking for references to evidence, and that could take a while. Although there weren't many witnesses, there were probably a lot of evidentiary documents. If there are a couple of not too bright jurors, they won't be able to understand this case. This is really complicated stuff, and the fraud system is complicated & confusing.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 08:45 AM

8. Makes you want to teach "Economics of the Rich" in Junior High..to prepare jurists and voters. Nt

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Response to lostnfound (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 08:50 AM

10. I think schools should require finance & budgeting classes in high school.

I got out of high school knowing nothing about the basics of finance & budgeting and the costs of things....the basics of life.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 10:20 AM

11. Seems that this judge could have allowed more help given the complex and numerous details

He's set up a legal minefield for manafort's lawyers to drag through for potential appeals. Lets hope they blow themselves up in there.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 11:14 AM

13. Number 2 makes me wonder if he's one of those judges that doesn't allow note taking

It would explain his answer, too. Judges who ban it think jurors should rely on their memory because taking notes is distracting, and they think it makes jurors note some evidence with more importance than it deserves. It's ridiculous because many modern court cases are so complex with massive amounts of detailed evidence. Making jurors attempt to commit all of that to memory doesn't serve justice.

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