Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Prosecution rests case against Paul Manafort

Prosecution rests case against Paul Manafort

Prosecutors rested their case on Monday in the federal tax and bank fraud trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Defense attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they've sought to undermine his testimony.

Manafort's lawyers have not yet said whether they will call any witnesses or present other evidence in the case.

The case arose from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The prosecution depicted Manafort as using the millions of dollars hidden in offshore accounts to fund a luxurious lifestyle.

Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, who was chairman of the campaign from May to August 2016 - with Gates at his side. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and has provided much of the drama of the trial so far.

Manafort, 69, is facing tax evasion and bank fraud charges after being accused of hiding a "significant percentage" of income earned from his Ukrainian work from the IRS. He said he also found several "inconsistencies" in the amount of income Manafort reported for his business.

Gates said he helped Manafort commit crimes in an effort to protect Manafort's finances. During testimony, Gates was 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.

Former Federal Savings Bank Vice President Dennis Raico testified that Calk pushed through Manafort's loans over the concerns of other members of the bank's leadership.

US prosecutors on Monday rested their case against Manafort after 10 days of testimony. Brennan even rated one loan for Manafort risky but doable in a memorandum used by regulators and the bank. According to Mueller's team, the bank's founder and CEO Stephen Calk was given an unpaid advisory role in the Trump campaign after dining with Manafort.

But the defense team thinks it has an extra leg up on dismissing the four Federal Savings Bank fraud charges because Ellis previously suggested in court that the bank couldn't be defrauded if Calk wanted Manafort to have the loans.

Calk pitched himself to Manafort as a Trump loyalist who could run the U.S. Army or serve in a senior position in the Treasury or Commerce departments.

Calk also listed 19 potential ambassadorships.

"The 3 indivituals (sic) are people who I believe advance DT agenda". Kushner became a central figure in the transition and later in the White House.

Manafort noted Calk's background was "strong in defense issues, management and finance".

Calk ultimately did not get an administration post, though he did approve the loans for Manafort.

In all, the bank lost $11.8 million on the loans it made to Manafort, Brennan said.

Liss clarified for the jury Monday that no foreign bank account disclosures existed for Manafort's consulting companies from 2011 to 2014.

Brennan said the $16 million that Manafort received was among the largest loans the bank had ever made. Ellis took the motion under advisement. On Monday, defense lawyers filed a sealed motion, and prosecutors filed a response also under seal.

"It's very clear that if you do not own more than 50 percent of the entity, you do not have a responsibility", Zehnle said.

It was unclear if Ellis will make public the reason behind an unexpected recess on Friday that lasted into the midafternoon and included a lengthy discussion with the lawyers and judge at the bench, the contents of which remain under seal.

At one point on Friday, Ellis left the courtroom and headed toward the jury room.

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