Paul Manafort's attorneys rest without presenting evidence, witnesses

Paul Manafort's attorneys rest without presenting evidence, witnesses

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. "The side with the best paper usually wins, and in this case, all the paper is on the prosecution's side, and there's nearly no paper on the defense side".

Paul Manafort's defense team rested on Tuesday without calling any witnesses to testify in the bank and tax fraud trial, including Manafort himself. "If Manafort had chosen to testify, he rather than Gates would have been the critical testimony presented at trial and would have given the government the chance to refocus the jury on Manafort".

It is the first case to be tried that is tied to the sprawling investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which is focused on possible illegal collusion between President Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russian Federation.

Closing arguments are expected to take place Wednesday.

While several others charged in the investigation, including former Manafort aide Richard Gates, have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the Mueller probe, Manafort has maintained his innocence. When it resumed, he asked whether they had a defense to present.

Defense attorneys rested their case without calling witnesses on Manafort's behalf.

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

Ellis on Tuesday also ruled against the defense's motion to acquit.

Wearing a dark suit and white shirt, Manafort stood at the lectern in court as the judge formally asked him his intentions.


The government alleges Manafort hid at least $16 million USA in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014 by disguising the money he earned advising politicians in Ukraine as loans and hiding it in foreign banks.

James Brennan, a vice president at Calk's Chicago bank, Federal Savings, testified in court the bank was aware Manafort had lied about his finances to obtain the loans but proceeded anyway because of Calk.

Calk allegedly gave Manafort a $16 million loan that he didn't seem to qualify for in exchange for a possible high-ranking job in the nascent Trump administration.

"They are all jury issues", Ellis said, explaining that he believed it should be up to the jury to decide.

After two weeks of testimony from prosecution witnesses, until now it had been unclear whether the defense would put forward witnesses or evidence of their own.

Still, the proceedings have drawn Mr. Trump's attention - and tweets - as he works to undermine the standing of the Mueller investigation in the public square. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and has provided much of the drama of the trial so far.

Gates said he helped Manafort, 69, commit crimes in an effort to lower his tax bill and fund his lavish lifestyle.

The 12 jurors in the case will hear closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, according to the Washington Post.

The only dispute was about what jurors should be told about how to interpret questions and comments interjected by the judge during the course of the trial. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes".

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