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Ex-prosecutor tells MSNBC why Manafort jury is taking so long to reach a verdict — and it’s not good news for him

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Jurors began deliberating last week in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — and a former federal prosecutor told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” what might be taking so long to reach a verdict.

Barbara McQuade, who stepped down last year as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan at the request of President Donald Trump, said she believed the evidence against Manafort was strong, but extremely complicated.

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“I watched the trial and I think it is a very strong case,” McQuade said. “I do still think that the jury is likely to convict, ultimately. I think any reasonable jury would convict, although you never know the makeup of any particular jury.”

As deliberations continue into a fourth day, McQuade said prosecutors shouldn’t necessarily be worried.

“The fact they’ve been at it for three days is not yet cause for concern by the government,” she said.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis is known for challenging prosecutors, and McQuade said some of those hurdles he set up during the trial have slowed down deliberations.

“I think one thing about this judge, you know, he was very difficult on the prosecution,” McQuade said. “He had some extraneous statements. I’m told he is always that way, this is sort of how he rolls.”

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Ellis tried to speed up the trial by refusing to allow prosecutors to display some evidence in open court as it was discussed by witnesses, and McQuade said jurors may be taking their time examining some of those exhibits during deliberations.

“It is a complicated case with financial transactions and documents,” McQuade said. “I think that the time they saved in the trial they may be giving back in the deliberations as the jury now needs to go and pull out all of those documents and look at them and see how they match up.”

She said the jurors have signaled that the exhibits were confusing to some of them.

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“One of the questions they have asked is whether they could have some sort of key or chart showing them which exhibits match up with which counts or which witnesses, and the judge said no,” McQuade said. “So they’re doing that work themselves, and I think in a case with more than 400 exhibits, it could take them some time. So I wouldn’t be worried yet that it is taking too long. I think that they are meticulously doing their job.”

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Google pledges new $10 billion investment in US in 2020

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Google said Wednesday it would invest more than $10 billion in US offices and data centers in 2020, including its new campus planned for New York City and projects in 10 other states.

The pledge comes on top of some $22 billion invested by the US tech giant unit over the past two years.

"These investments will create thousands of jobs -- including roles within Google, construction jobs in data centers and renewable energy facilities, and opportunities in local businesses in surrounding towns and communities," said a blog post by Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google parent Alphabet.

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Devin Nunes’ income called into question as watchdog asks for investigation of his finances

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According to a report from the Fresno Bee,the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center is requesting a federal investigation into whether U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) is receiving legal services in violation of House ethics rules.

Over the past year, the conservative Republicans has launched a handful of lawsuits against critics -- including the McClatchy newspaper chain and a person on Twitter purporting to be one of his cows.

According to the Bee, "The complaint says Nunes appears to be in 'blatant violation of House rules,' because he would have trouble paying for all these lawsuits solely from his congressional salary of $174,000 per year. The group argues he’d only be able to pay if he received legal services for free, at a discounted rate, or based on a contingency fee, meaning the lawyer would get compensated from Nunes’ winnings if he prevails in his lawsuits."

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Americans ramp up new home buying in January

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New US homes continued to sell at a brisk pace in January, with sales hitting the highest level since July 2007 as builders struggled to keep pace, according to government data released Wednesday.

The better-than-expected results in the Census Bureau report showed the jump in new home sales that began last year had not tapered off in the first month of 2020, sending prices spiking.

Sales of single-family homes jumped in to an annual rate of 764,000, seasonally adjusted, an increase of 7.9 percent from December 2019, according to the report.

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