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Mueller's team: It's important we show Manafort's expensive lifestyle

Good morning,

The special counsel's team filed a brief overnight urging the judge to reconsider his decision not to allow them to show photos of Manafort’s suits and other luxury goods. Yesterday, the government produced invoices for some $1.26 million in clothes, including a $15,000 suit made from ostrich.

Mueller's team argues they have a right to show photos of the clothes to help prove their case, and that Judge T.S. Ellis is wrong to say it would be unfair. (The judge, for his part, has said it's not illegal to have expensive taste.)

“Courts have consistently held in tax and bank fraud cases that evidence of a defendant’s spending and lifestyle is relevant to his intent and is not unduly prejudicial,” the brief says, directly challenging the ruling of Judge Ellis, who has consistently blocked prosecutors from showing the jury such evidence.

Furthermore, the brief states: "That Manafort had an expensive lifestyle that required lots of money to maintain is important proof as to why he would commit the bank frauds. When Manafort’s income declined in 2014, he resorted to bank fraud as a means to maintain his lifestyle. Indeed, the government is entitled to refute the common argument that a wealthy person has no need to commit bank fraud, by demonstrating that Manafort had grown accustomed to his material wealth."

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It was a question, not a verdict: What if we can't come to a consensus on one count? 

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Jurors were dismissed at 4:55 p.m.

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The note, delivered to Judge Ellis minutes ago, contains four questions from the jury. The judge heard argument from both sides as to the answers. 

Court is now dismissed for the day, and the jury will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Here are the questions from the jury, and the answers the judge gave. 

Question: Is one required to file an FBAR if they own less than 50% of the company and no signatory authority?

Answer: After suggestion from the prosecution, Judge Ellis reread Jury Instruction #53, which defined FBARs, and the details surrounding FBARS.

ELLIS: A person is an owner of record (Owner of FBAR) if a person is acting on behalf of a US person with access and control of the account, OR if a US person who owned more than 50% of company.

Q: Define "shelf company"?

A: Rely on collective recollection.

Q: Can you redefine reasonable doubt?

A: The government is not required to prove beyond "all possible doubt," just doubt that can be reasoned.

Q: Can the exhibit list be amended to include the indictment?

A: No.