Monday, 17 June, 2019

Defense Rests In Paul Manafort Case Without Calling Him Or Other Witnesses

Defense rests in Manafort case, ex-Trump campaign chairman not called to stand Paul Manafort's lawyers conclude trial without calling any witnesses
Deanna Wagner | 15 August, 2018, 14:35

Lawyers for Paul Manafort rested without calling witnesses Tuesday in their client's trial on bank and fraud charges, a stark contrast from the prosecution's case that included testimony from almost two dozen people and hundreds of documents entered into evidence.

Manafort, 69, also told the court that he won't testify in his own behalf.

The court will move to closing statements, although at Tuesday lunchtime it was unclear when those would be made, after which the 12-person jury will begin deliberations. He's also accused of fraudulently obtaining millions in bank loans.

Kevin Downing, lead lawyer for President Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, walks away after speaking to reporters outside District Court in Alexandria, Va., on Tuesday.

In a two-week trial that highlighted Manafort's lavish spending on clothing, including $15,000 for an ostrich-skin bomber jacket and landscaping one of his homes with a flower bed shaped like the letter "M". According to Brennan, the bank approved $16 million in loans to Manafort by CEO Stephen Calk, who was angling for a cabinet position in the Trump administration.

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The president denies the explosive allegation and says an Apprentice producer confirms no such tapes exist. John Kelly, who fired Manigault Newman in December 2017 in a conversation she viewed as a "threat".

Prosecutors called 27 witnesses to the stand during their case since July 31, including Manafort's long-time right-hand man, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government.

The last three days of trial have been dominated by closed-door meetings between the judge and lawyers for both sides, the subject of which remains unknown. During testimony, Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes". He said the Federal Savings Bank ended up losing $11.8 million on the loan.

"The challenge for the government is to present the case to the jury as a very simple case. Barring some weird scenario, I don't think there's much chance for Mr. Manafort". Speculation is that there is an issue of some kind with the jury, but the judge has shed no light on the matter in public settings.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the jurors were called back into the courtroom, where they heard Manafort's attorneys rest their case.

Lawyers representing Paul Manafort have rested their case in his financial crimes trial. Most of the jurors looked at the judge as he instructed them to return Wednesday morning and not discuss the case, but at least one juror stared back at Manafort.