Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Manafort Team Must Choose to Defend or Stand Down

Manafort Team Must Choose to Defend or Stand Down

Manafort, 69, is facing tax evasion and bank fraud charges after being accused of hiding income earned from his Ukrainian work from the IRS.

Manafort has been charged with tax and bank fraud as well as failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

The charges against Manafort do not delve to the core question of Mueller's investigation - whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian attack on the 2016 election.

They claimed in a court filing on Monday that prosecutors under U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller failed to show the necessary willfulness to break the law. Witnesses testified at trial that Calk pushed the loans through because he wanted a post in the Trump administration.

The courtroom was sealed for about two hours Tuesday morning, before the defense rested, though it's unclear what matter the lawyers were discussing.

Gates acknowledged that he "possibly" covered personal expenses with Trump inauguration funds at the trial of his former boss Paul Manafort last week.

Manafort's legal team elected not to call him as a witness in his own defense.


Prosecutors say Manafort hid money in offshore bank accounts and then used it to pay for over $6 million in NY and Virginia real estate, items such as antique rugs and fancy clothes, including a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich skin. Downing also said the defense team was feeling "confident" heading into Wednesday's closing remarks.

According to the testimony of John Brennan, a vice president at the Federal Savings Bank, Manafort managed to receive $16 million in loans from the bank around this same time, even though Calk knew that Manafort had been dishonest about the state of his finances.

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.

The prosecution wrapped up on Monday and called up more than two dozen people to testify. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and provided much of the drama of the trial so far. Judge T.S. Ellis (rear C) looks on.

The defense is also expected to deliver closing arguments on Wednesday before the case goes to the jury. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes".

Ellis eventually came up with compromise language that was agreeable to both sides.

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