Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018|9:40 a.m.
ALEXANDRIA, Va.– Paul Manafort’s defense rested its case Tuesday without calling any witnesses in the previous Trump campaign chairman’s tax evasion and scams trial. Manafort himself picked not to testify.
The decision by Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, not to call witnesses clears the method for the jury to hear closing arguments in the trial, now in its third week.
Manafort is accused of concealing countless dollars in income he got recommending Ukrainian political leaders. The defense has tried to blame Manafort’s financial errors on his previous assistant, Richard Gates. Defense lawyer have actually called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they’ve looked for to undermine his statement.
Closing arguments in the event are scheduled for Wednesday early morning.
Asked by Judge T.S. Ellis III whether he wanted to testify in his defense, Manafort responded: “No, sir.” The choice came after a more than two-hour hearing that was closed from the general public.
The judge has actually not provided any explanation for the sealed case, only noting that a transcript of it would end up being public after Manafort’s case concludes.
Manafort’s decision not to affirm and not to call witnesses came after Ellis rejected a defense movement that the case must be dismissed on grounds the government cannot meet its burden of evidence. Manafort’s lawyers asked the judge to throw out all the charges against him, but they focused in particular on four bank-fraud charges.
The government says Manafort concealed a minimum of $16 million in income from the Internal Revenue Service between 2010 and 2014 by disguising the money he made recommending politicians in Ukraine as loans and concealing it in foreign banks. Then, after his cash in Ukraine dried up, they allege he defrauded banks by lying about his earnings on loan applications and concealing other monetary info, such as home loans.
Manafort’s legal representatives argued that there is no way that a person of the banks, Federal Savings Bank, might have been defrauded since its chairman, Stephen Calk, understood full well that Manafort’s financial resources were in disarray but authorized the loan to Manafort anyway. Witnesses testified at trial that Calk pressed the loans through due to the fact that he wanted a post in the Trump administration.
Ellis, in making his ruling, stated that the defense made a “significant” argument, however ultimately ruled the concern “is a concern for the jury.”
Prosecutors rested their case on Monday, closing 2 weeks of statement that illustrated Manafort as using the countless dollars concealed in offshore accounts to fund a glamorous lifestyle– and later on getting millions more in bank loans under incorrect pretenses.
The trial is the very first to emerge from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but it does not connect to any accusations of Russian election disturbance or possible coordination with the Trump project. Neither Manafort nor Gates have been charged in connection with their Trump campaign work.
Still, the procedures have drawn President Donald Trump’s attention– and tweets– as he works to undermine the standing of the Mueller investigation in the public square.
Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, who led the campaign from Might to August 2016– with Gates at his side. Gates struck a plea handle district attorneys and offered much of the drama of the trial so far.
Gates said he helped Manafort dedicate criminal activities in an effort to lower his tax costs and fund his extravagant lifestyle. Throughout testament, Gates was forced to confess embezzling hundreds of countless dollars from Manafort and conducting an adulterous affair.
The prosecution has actually introduced a chest of documentary evidence as they have actually sought to show Manafort committed 18 separate criminal counts. Along the way, they have actually not only dealt with an aggressive defense team but tongue-lashings from the judge, who pushed the federal government to accelerate its case.