ALEXANDRIA, Va. — President Trump refused to say on Friday whether he would pardon Paul Manafort as a federal jury in Alexandria ended its second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict in Mr. Manafort’s financial fraud trial.
The jurors are weighing what prosecutors have called overwhelming evidence that Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, engaged in a seven-year scheme to hide more than $16 million in income and deceive banks into lending him $20 million.
Defense lawyers have suggested that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has unfairly targeted Mr. Manafort, a 69-year-old political consultant, and portrayed oversights and bookkeeping mistakes as blatant acts of fraud.
Asked on Friday as he departed the White House whether he would pardon Mr. Manafort if he is convicted, Mr. Trump replied: “I don’t talk about that, no. I don’t talk about that.” Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, John M. Dowd, had broached the prospect of a pardon last year with Mr. Manafort’s former lawyer as the special counsel was building the case against him, raising questions that Mr. Dowd was offering a pardon to influence Mr. Manafort’s decision about whether to cooperate in the inquiry.
The president described Mr. Manafort as “a very good person” who worked for him only briefly, adding: “The whole Manafort trial is very sad. When you look at what’s going on there, I think it’s a very sad day for our country.”
The president’s comments added to the perception that the jury’s decision will be not just a verdict on the actions of Mr. Manafort, but also on the broader Mueller inquiry. Although the charges against Mr. Manafort are not related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign or whether any Trump associates conspired with Moscow, an acquittal would most likely provoke calls for Mr. Mueller to end his 15-month investigation.
The outcome of the 14-day trial is so eagerly anticipated that news camera crews have all but blocked the path to the courthouse from the hotel opposite it, where the defense lawyers and Mr. Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, have been camped out at a high-top table in the corner of the restaurant. Mr. Manafort is being kept in a holding cell on the first floor of the courthouse.
Judge T. S. Ellis III of United States District Court said the public’s interest in the trial has deeply surprised him. “I had no idea that this case would excite these emotions,” he said.
While he said that “a thirsty press is essential to a free country,” he denied a motion by more than a half dozen news organizations, including The New York Times, to release the jurors’ names. “To do so would create a risk of harm to them,” he said, as well as intimidate prospective jurors in other cases.
Without being specific, the judge said the high-profile case had provoked threats, noting that he had protection from federal marshals. “They go where I go,” he said.
Judge Ellis also said he had no plans to unseal the transcript of a midtrial conference he held with both sides out of the jury’s earshot, after the Trump campaign was mentioned during questioning. Prosecutors convinced the judge that the discussion should be kept secret because its release could jeopardize an active investigation.
Once a verdict is reached, Judge Ellis promised he would unseal the transcripts of other discussions that appear to have been prompted by an unspecified issue involving a juror.
A second trial, focused on allegations of money laundering and foreign lobbying, awaits Mr. Manafort next month in Washington, where prosecutors plan to present more than twice as many exhibits as they brought forth in the Alexandria case. Citing the continuing trial, Mr. Manafort’s lawyers have asked for more time to prepare.
Emily Baumgaertner and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.