Prosecution rests in Manafort tax evasion and fraud trial

Manafort in his booking

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's defense team ended its arguments on Tuesday without calling a single witness, according to Politico reporter Kyle Cheney.

The Mueller team has spent the past couple of weeks been bringing in a parade of witnesses to testify against Manafort, including former partner Rick Gates, who admitted that he and Manafort committed crimes together.

As its final witness on Monday, the prosecution recalled a Treasury Department agent who testified that Manafort's consulting companies did not disclose their foreign bank accounts, as is required by law, in addition to him failing to do so personally.

Manafort's defense attorneys formally asked the court to dismiss the case, a type of request that typically happens at the end of a prosecution's presentation and is usually quickly set aside by the trial judge. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III recessed the trial without explanation after huddling with his bailiff and attorneys from special counsel Robert Mueller's office and Manafort's lawyers for more than 20 minutes. The charges against him involve activities that predate his tenure with the Trump campaign.

Still, the proceedings have drawn President Donald Trump's attention — and tweets — as he works to undermine the standing of the Mueller investigation in the public square.

If he were to testify, Manafort also would have also opened himself up to cross-examination by the prosecutors, and would have had to explain several emails and banking forms with his name and signature on them. Defense lawyers say Gates is a liar trying to avoid jail time under his plea deal.

Gates said he helped Manafort commit crimes in an effort to lower his tax bill and fund his lavish lifestyle. Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and an extramarital affair. Ellis has pushed the government to speed up its case.

Brenann is an executive at Federal Savings Bank, which extended $16 million in loans to Manafort on his Hamptons estate and a Brooklyn brownstone house in late 2016 and early 2017. He says he also found several "inconsistencies" in the amount of income Manafort reported for his business. The email detailed some of "the issues we were having" regarding one of Manafort's loan applications, Brennan said.

Brennan said bank president Javier Ubarri made an initial decision to reject a $9.5 million loan on Manafort's Hamptons estate, but bank chief executive Steve Calk overruled it.

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Brennan said he had given the loan a rating of "4", but added in court that he shouldn't have done that.

"It closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close", bank employee James Brennan said.

Calk also listed 19 potential ambassadorships.

In the November 30, 2016, email to Kushner, Manafort passed along Calk's resume along with two other names of people he said "should be a part of the Trump administration".

"The 3 indivituals (sic) are people who I believe advance DT agenda".

The prosecution pressed Ellis to alter instructions about comments the judge had made to emphasize that they should not be considered by the jury.

Calk wrote a memo to Manafort a week after the election expressing his interest in serving in the administration, which he argued was justified by his vocal support for the president.

Members of the defense team for Paul Manafort, including from left, Jay Nanavati, Kevin Downing, Brian Ketcham, Richard Westling, and Thomas Zehnle, walk to federal court as the trial of the former Trump campaign chairman continues, in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

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