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Ex-Trump aide Manafort's defense rests, case headed to jury

16 August, 2018, 19:58 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Aaron P. Bernstein  Bloomberg via Getty Images FILE

Defence attorneys have so far blamed any wrongdoing on Rick Gates, Manafort's former protege, who testified August 6. Defense attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they've sought to undermine his testimony.

Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is now officially part of the trove of evidence in Paul Manafort's criminal trial, as part of an email exchange with the former campaign chairman about potential senior administration jobs. The defense has rested their case. Asked by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III whether he wished to testify in his defense, Manafort responded: "No, sir".

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

The prosecution had planned to rest its case last week, but an unknown issue that the judge chose to keep under seal delayed the start of proceedings for several hours that day.

Late Monday, Manafort's team also made a motion to dismiss all the charges, saying the government hadn't met its burden of proof.

Manafort's lawyers on Monday asked for the charges to be thrown out, claiming that the prosecution failed to show the necessary willfulness to break the law.

After Yanukovich was ousted from power in 2014 and Manafort's lucrative work in Ukraine dried up, prosecutors said, he turned to bank fraud to finance his extravagant lifestyle, lying on applications for bank loans and mortgages on multiple homes. But Brennan says that rejection was overruled by Federal Savings Bank chairman Stephen Calk.

Other bank officials saw "red flags" in Manafort's loan application and wanted to reject it, he said.

"In the end, I think the defendant makes a significant argument about materiality", Ellis said Tuesday.

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The jury's decision ultimately comes down to whether they believe that Manafort knew he was supposed to file FBARs for his income from DMP and DMP International and that he willfully hid millions of dollars in income overseas in accounts he did not report. The charges against him involve activities that predate his tenure with the Trump campaign.

The trial of the longtime Washington operator now turns to Manafort's defense team, which has so far blamed any wrongdoing on Rick Gates, the former Manafort protege who testified he and his former boss committed crimes together for years. Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and an extramarital affair.

"We're fully cooperating with the Special Counsel's office, and in fairness to both sides we can not make any comment at this time", Calk told the news service on Sunday.

The only dispute was about what jurors should be told about how to interpret questions and comments interjected by the judge during the course of the trial. But it was not likely severe enough to prompt the judge to declare a mistrial, he said, noting Ellis resumed witness testimony on Friday afternoon.

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

Manafort's lawyers will also tell the court on Tuesday whether they plan to call any witnesses. With Downing are members of the defense team for Manafort, from left, Thomas Zehnle, Jay Nanavati and Brian Ketcham.

Jurors heard Monday from two final witnesses called by the prosecution: James Brennan of Federal Savings Bank and Paula Liss of the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Prosecutor Greg Andres announced that the prosecution had finished witness presentation against Manafort after 10 days of testimony from 27 witnesses.

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