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Paul Manafort trial – Fairfax criminal lawyer’s observations

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Aug 22, 2018 Paul Manafort trial – Fairfax criminal lawyer’s observations

Paul Manafort trial - Fairfax criminal lawyer's observations

Paul Manafort trial – Fairfax criminal lawyer’s observations

Fairfax criminal lawyer on Paul Manafort’s trial

Paul Manafort’s trial has now concluded with convictions on eight counts and a hung jury on the remaining ten counts of the indictment. The conviction of former Donald Trump campaign manager Manafort coincides with the multicount guilty plea of former Trump fix-it lawyer Michael Cohen.  As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I wrote the following observations about the Manafort jury deliberations before the jury had yet reached its verdict.

Virginia criminal attorney visits Paul Manafort’s federal courtroom

On August 19, 2018, for the first and only time, I visited Paul Manafort’s courtroom on the ninth floor (Judge T.S. Ellis presiding) since his trial began many days before, after I finished my case in courtroom 400. The jury keeps deliberating. Journalists wait around in the courtroom and hallway.

Fairfax criminal attorney advocates providing cellphone access to lawyers and journalists in the Alexandria federal courthouse

Journalists get no exception to the rule applying to all other spectators in this courthouse: No cellphones, iPads nor laptops (I am only allowed a laptop, but no cellphone, during my own court proceedings in this courthouse, at the judge’s discretion). So journalists are in the 20th century (and earlier for not having phone access but for one working payphone), talking with each other, writing, and reading books and other material. Not all federal courthouses are as strict as that. If cellphones will continue being banned from the Alexandria, Virginia, federal courthouse, more working payphones should be installed in the building.

Virginia criminal lawyer on only one working payphone to use in the entire Alexandria federal courthouse

Like all other visitors to this courthouse, the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, journalists can use cellphones outside the courthouse. The courthouse only has one working payphone. Taking breaks from cyberspace can be good, but not under this blanket courthouse cellphone ban.

During Manafort’s trial, the nearby carryout restaurant likely received hundreds of dollars for holding onto cellphones for $2 apiece.

A slew of camera operators and journalists wait outside Manafort’s courthouse, passing the time until a jury note or verdict comes about.

Fairfax criminal lawyer on where Paul Manafort goes from here

If Manafort gets convicted, I expect this judge will give a stiff sentence. Trump of course may pardon Manafort or commute his sentence, in the event of a conviction.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz defends people charged with state-level and federal-level felony, misdemeanor and DUI/DWI charges. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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