Paul Manafort’s Defense Rests Without Calling a Witness or Presenting a Case

This Aug. 7 2018 courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates right testifying during questioning in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort at federal court in Alexandria Va. U.S. district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides at top right. Gates ackno

Lawyers for Paul Manafort rested without calling witnesses Tuesday in their client's trial on bank and fraud charges, a stark contrast from the prosecution's case that included testimony from almost two dozen people and hundreds of documents entered into evidence.

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.

Mr. Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, who led the campaign from May to August 2016 with Gates at his side. Defense attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they've sought to undermine his testimony.

The trial now heads to closing arguments, set to begin Wednesday morning.

Asked by Judge T.S. Ellis III whether he wished to testify in his defense, Manafort responded: "No, sir".

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

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The judge has not given any explanation for the sealed proceeding, only noting that a transcript of it would become public after Manafort's case concludes.

Last week, the prosecution's star witness, Rick Gates - Manafort's former business partner who struck a plea deal to cooperate with the government - testified that he and Manafort committed bank and tax fraud together. Nor did Manafort's team of lawyers attempt to mount a defense, as Law&Crime's Colin Kalmbacher reports from Eastern District of Virginia. Defense lawyers argued in court papers filed late Monday that prosecutors failed to prove that the bank relied on false information in deciding whether to lend money to Manafort.

Their testimony, accompanied by a lengthy paper trail, aimed to support the government's allegations that Manafort hid millions of dollars of income from Ukraine from the IRS in secret offshore bank accounts, and then lied to USA lenders to get bank loans when that revenue dried up. Gates recounted helping Manafort hide his income in foreign bank accounts and trick banks into extending him loans that he was not qualified to receive. Manafort made the comments during a brief questioning Tuesday.

After 10 days of testimony from more than two dozen witnesses, prosecutors wrapped up its case against Manafort on Monday.

The trial is the first courtroom test for Mueller, who indicted Manafort in October 2017 as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election.

Manafort also noted Calk's past role as an economic adviser to the Trump campaign and prior television appearances.

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