Government rests in ex-Trump campaign chief Manafort's fraud trial

Government rests in ex-Trump campaign chief Manafort's fraud trial

Prosecutors on Monday rested their tax evasion and bank fraud case against Paul Manafort, a longtime Washington operator and President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.

So far the defence team has blamed any wrongdoing on a former Manafort protege, Rick Gates, who testified he and his former boss committed crimes together for years. Defense attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they've sought to undermine his testimony.

The prosecution has rested its case after presenting evidence they say shows Manafort concealed millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS and fraudulently obtained loans.

They will have to disclose that information Tuesday as the case reaches its final stages.

The case against Manafort does not relate to any allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination with the Trump campaign, the main thrust of Mueller's investigation.

Manafort has been charged with 18 tax and banking crimes.

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Still, the proceedings have drawn worldwide attention - as well as Trump's - for what the case reveals about people in the combative president's orbit as Mueller examines the same circles for any election interference or obstruction. He says they were the two largest loans the bank had made when they were issued in late 2016 and early 2017.

"I would have expected some witnesses on how Manafort trusted and relied upon Gates and gave him independent control of his finances", he said. During testimony, Gates was also forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair. The admittedly impatient judge has pushed the government to speed up its case.

Prosecutors tied up the loose ends of their case on Monday, calling the last banker to testify and asking a financial fraud federal agent to return to the witness box.


Before he had even rated the loan deal with Manafort, Calk had decided that the deal was getting done, Brennan testified, even though if it was up to him or Calk's other two credit committee members, TFSB would have pulled out of the deal over multiple discrepancies in Manafort's reported income and a $300,000 debt that he owed on his American Express card from a New York Yankees season ticket purchase.

Federal Savings Bank has not returned calls seeking comment, and has said it will make no comment during Manafort's trial.

When asked by prosecutors why the loan received a 4 rating, Brennan said it was because of "Mr. Calk".

Witnesses testified that Calk pushed the loans through because he wanted a post in the Trump administration.

Calk also listed 19 potential ambassadorships. Kushner became a central figure in the transition and later in the White House.

"Calk was an active supporter of campaign (sic) since April, " Manafort wrote to Kushner, according to Bloomberg. She spoke directly to the question of whether Manafort knew he needed to disclose to the federal government his foreign bank accounts.

The loan, a $9.5 million mortgage on Manafort's home in the Hamptons, came after a previous construction loan proposal for a property in California fell apart at the closing table.

Judge TS Ellis said he would talk to Manafort on Tuesday about whether he wanted to take the stand, something that legal experts say is highly unlikely.

Also Tuesday, Ellis rejected a defense motion that the case should be dismissed on those same grounds. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes".

The decision came after a more than two-hour hearing that was closed from the public.

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