Turkish banker’s New York trial on a break until next year

December 22, 2017

In this courtroom drawing, Judge Richard Berman addresses the jury at the end of the day's deliberations in the corruption trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Atilla is charged with helping Iran overcome U.S. economic sanctions to launder billions of dollars through world banks, including banks in the United States. Jury deliberations resume on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York jury deliberating the fate of a Turkish banker charged with helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions is off until after the holidays.

Federal court jurors in Manhattan finished a third day of discussions Friday in the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla and were told to return Jan. 3.

Prosecutors say Atilla was the architect of a conspiracy that enabled Iran to begin evading U.S. economic sanctions in 2011. Atilla’s lawyer says he was a humble civil servant at the state-owned bank, one of Turkey’s largest.

Turkish officials including the country’s president have criticized the prosecution and said testimony was coerced, an allegation the U.S. calls “ridiculous.”

The government’s star witness was a wealthy gold trader married to a pop star.

Jurors have requested evidence and read-backs of testimony.

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