Paul Manafort's Defense Rests Without Calling Witnesses

Minnie Murray
August 15, 2018

Ellis, who has not shied from making colorful comments during the trial, signaled that he will tell the jury to disregard any comments he made during witness testimony that might have shown his opinion. Manafort's defense rested Tuesday morning without calling a single witness.

Manafort, the first subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's team to stand trial, is facing a maximum 305-year prison sentence.

This comes as his defense team decided not to present a case on his behalf and did not call up any witnesses.

Nevertheless, as Brennan testified on Monday, Manafort's loan application was successful "because Mr. Calk wanted it to close".

Manafort also faces a trial in September in the District of Columbia, where he is charged with conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the United States, making false statements, and charges in connection with failing to register as a foreign agent even though he lobbied in the US on behalf of the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian government of former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The day after prosecutors concluded their case, having spent two weeks eliciting witness.

"Mr. Manafort lied and lied again", Andres said, accusing the defendant of not paying $15 million worth of taxes.

The jury heard from a former partner and a former accountant on how the long-time political consultant doctored his accounts and laundered tens of millions of dollars through offshore banks. The charges involve tax and bank fraud, not possible collusion between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's campaign for president.

Yet Trump and the 2016 election campaign were barely mentioned during the trial.

Still, the proceedings have drawn President Donald Trump's attention - and prompted tweets - as the president has worked to undermine the standing of the Mueller investigation in the public square.

Gates, Manafort's former business partner, testified last week that he and Manafort did in fact commit bank and tax fraud. During testimony, Gates was also forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair.

Prosecutors, who have been frustrated by Ellis' tendency to interrupt and chide prosecutors in front of the jury, sought stronger language to make clear that jurors do not need to adopt any opinions expressed by the judge. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes".

Judge T.S. Ellis has urged both sides to keep their closing arguments under two hours.

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