reporter's notebook

The End Of The Manafort Trial Is Coming Up. Here’s What To Expect.

August 13, 2018 11:36 a.m.

The proceedings in Paul Manafort’s Virginia trial will begin for the week at 1 p.m. this afternoon, and the lawyers for both sides are expected to give closing arguments in the case by the end of the week.

Due to a delay on Friday morning, the prosecution still has at least one witness to question this afternoon, and may briefly ask another witness about Manafort’s alleged failure to report his foreign bank accounts.

Given that, the prosecution should rest its case by mid-afternoon today, leaving open the possibility that the defense begins calling witnesses today.

We expect Manafort’s team to call only a few witnesses, compared to the prosecution’s 27 witnesses. There’s a possibility that the defense could rest its case by the end of the day Tuesday, but it might spill into Wednesday.

After the defense finishes calling its witnesses, lawyers for both sides must discuss with the judge any instructions they have for the jury. We have little insight into exactly how long this will take. If we’ve learned anything about Judge T.S. Ellis, its that he is impatient and will try to move things along. However, there’s also the possibility that this part of the trial could drag out if the prosecution and defense quibble over jury instructions. We expect this to take about half a day. Optimistically, this would be done by late Tuesday, but it could very well take place Wednesday morning.

Depending on how long the defense and jury instruction takes, closing arguments will take place either Wednesday or Thursday. Ellis told the lawyers last week that they would have two hours to deliver their closing arguments. Ellis also said he is hesitant to break up closing arguments over two days, increasing the chance that the trial won’t end until Thursday.

After closing arguments, the jury will have to deliberate. It’s unclear just how long this would take, so we could get a verdict as early as Friday, but the jury could also deliberate over the course of a few days.

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