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

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.