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Manafort'' s defense rests after calling no witnesses

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Jacquelyn Martin/ AP Paul Manafort reaches federal court, Friday, June 15, 2018, in Washington.

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.

Longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates confesses embezzlement

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018|5:04 p.m.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.– The government’s star witness in the financial scams trial of Paul Manafort affirmed Monday that he embezzled numerous countless dollars from the former Trump project chairman– and told jurors that he and Manafort committed crimes together.

Rick Gates has actually been regarded as an important witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and consented to comply in special counsel Robert Mueller’s examination into possible ties in between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The hugely prepared for courtroom showdown brought Gates face-to-face with his long time company associate and fellow Trump campaign assistant. His statement, given in short, clipped answers as Manafort rarely broke his gaze from the witness stand, follows that of suppliers who detailed Manafort’s luxurious spending and financial specialists who informed jurors how the offender concealed millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

But Gates, explained by witnesses as Manafort’s “right-hand guy,” is expected to offer the most damning statement about Manafort’s frame of mind as well as his own function in the crimes.

Gates informed jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort’s knowledge by filing incorrect expenditure reports. He likewise confessed to concealing countless dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort’s behalf and to falsifying loan applications and other documents to help Manafort acquire more in bank loans.

“We didn’t report the income or the foreign savings account,” Gates told jurors, keeping in mind that he understood he and Manafort were devoting criminal activities each time.

Gates read off the names of more than a lots shell companies he and Manafort established in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom to stow away the proceeds of Manafort’s Ukrainian political consulting work.

Asked whether the money in the accounts was earnings to Manafort, Gates said, “it was.”

Gates said he consistently lied to hide the savings account and, at Manafort’s instructions, he would categorize cash that was available in as either a loan or earnings to decrease Manafort’s tax concern.

Manafort’s defense has actually looked for to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and pointed out the embezzlement to impugn Gates’ reliability.

Gates, who likewise served in a senior function in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is anticipated to deal with aggressive cross-examination as soon as prosecutors are finished questioning him. Gates pleaded guilty to monetary scams and to lying to private investigators as he negotiated the plea agreement earlier this year. He is awaiting sentencing.

The criminal case has absolutely nothing to do with either male’s work for the Trump project and there’s been no conversation during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia– the main concern Mueller’s group has aimed to address. However Trump has revealed interest in the proceedings, tweeting assistance for Manafort and suggesting he had actually been dealt with worse than gangster Al Capone.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who repeatedly interrupted district attorneys recently as they aimed to present evidence about Manafort’s extravagant life such as $900,000 in expensive fits and a $15,000 ostrich coat, clashed once again with prosecutor Greg Andres on Monday when Andres explored the status and identities of the Eastern Europeans who made payments to Manafort.

Ellis said all that matters is that Manafort was paid and whether he hid the earnings from the Internal Revenue Service.

“It doesn’t matter whether these ready people, bad people, oligarchs, Mafia. … You don’t have to toss mud at these people,” Ellis stated.

Andres stated he was entitled to show the jury why Manafort was getting 10s of countless dollars in payments.

“When we try to explain the work, Your Honor stops us and inform us to move on,” he stated.

District attorneys say Manafort used those business to stash millions of dollars from his Ukrainian consulting work, proceeds he omitted year-after-year from his income tax returns. Later on, they state, when that income dwindled, Manafort launched a different plan, supporting his struggling finances using doctored files to acquire millions more in bank loans.

All told, district attorneys allege that Manafort failed to report a “substantial percentage” of the more than $60 million they say he received from Ukrainians. They intended to reveal jurors how that money flowed from more than a dozen shell companies used to stash the earnings in Cyprus.

On Friday, a tax preparer called Cindy Laporta admitted that she helped disguise $900,000 in foreign income as a loan in order to decrease Manafort’s tax burden. Laporta, who testified under a resistance handle the government, acknowledged that she concurred under pressure from Gates to change a tax file for among Manafort’s businesses.

Under cross-examination Monday, defense attorney Kevin Downing pushed Laporta on the complexities of Manafort’s finances as he worked to paint an image of a political consultant who left the details to professionals and, in particular, to Gates.

Downing also accused Gates of embezzling “millions,” a greater quantity than Gates later admitted to in his testimony.

Laporta said she had grown to wonder about the info Gates was supplying her, though she didn’t learn about the embezzlement.

But she said she believed Manafort was directing Gates’ efforts to camouflage loans and hide earnings, keeping in mind that Manafort was copied on her e-mail traffic with Gates.

“In many circumstances, it was clear that Mr. Manafort understood exactly what was going on,” she said.

Associated Press authors Eric Tucker and Stephen Braun contributed to this report.

Judge in Virginia lets case against Manafort move forward

Tuesday, June 26, 2018|1:50 p.m.

WASHINGTON– A federal judge in Virginia has actually declined President Donald Trump’s previous campaign chairman’s move to throw away charges brought by the unique counsel in the Russia examination.

The decision Tuesday was an obstacle for Paul Manafort in his defense against various tax and bank fraud charges. Manafort had actually argued that special counsel Robert Mueller had actually surpassed his authority because the case was unassociated to Russian election disturbance.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III provided the ruling. Ellis had previously grilled Mueller’s group, questioning whether they brought the case to get Manafort to affirm versus Trump.

Prosecutors had argued that Mueller was within his authority, mentioning an August 2017 memo from Deputy Chief law officer Rod Rosenstein. The memo reveals Rosenstein authorized Mueller to examine Manafort’s Ukrainian work and related financial criminal offenses.