All posts by pickering

Manafort trial ends

I sat outside the courthouse during the last two afternoons while the Manafort jury was deliberating. Of course, there was no way to know whether or not these would be the last days, but it seemed like a high probability.
On Monday, a note was sent to the judge which turned out to be the jury asking to keep deliberating until 6:15, and then reporters ran out with the news and Mrs. Manafort and Kevin Downing and the rest of the defense team walked back to the Westin Hotel across the street to keep waiting.



At 6:15, reporters ran out with the news, but the only news turned out to be that the jury would keep deliberating the next day.

On Tuesday, there was another note mid-day. The jury asked what they should do if they could not agree on a verdict on a single count. Most of the media interpreted this as meaning that they were deadlocked on a single count, but some interpreted it as deadlocked on one or more counts, which turned out to be the case. Judge Ellis sent them back to deliberate more.  Reporters ran out with the news, and Mrs Manafort and the defense team again went back to the Westin Hotel.

 


In the late afternoon, Mrs. Manafort and the defense team were again summoned to court, and the wait outside grew even more intense. The reporters then burst out with the news at that point, which was that there was a verdict on 8 counts and a deadlocked jury on 10 counts. No one knew whether the verdict was guilty or innocent on those 8 counts, or whether the judge would accept the jury’s decision or send them back for more deliberation.


The reporters were not allowed cell phones or any other technology inside the court, so they had to run outside to their media encampments each time they had news, and then run back in to hear more. So at this point, no one knew the timing, but then several reporters ran out with the news that the verdict was guilty on the first count.

This is the Bloomberg media team. In this photo, the reporter is handing the writer a red card with Guilty on it. In the photo above, the sign is yellow with Verdict In! on it. Bloomberg was the only media that appeared to have prepared signs to help their writers immediately grasp the news instantaneously.

Most of the reporters waited to come out until the verdict had been read on all the counts.  Along with them was this protestor who had been at many events, and had been a spectator inside the courtroom this day.  He quickly unveiled his sign.

About twenty minutes later,  Mrs. Manafort and then Kevin Downing and the defense team came out. Downing briefly spoke, saying that Mr. Manafort was of course not happy with the decision but was grateful to the judge and the jury for their consideration of the case, and he would be considering all his options.