Friday, 16 November, 2018

Paul Manafort trial Day 12

Paul Manafort's lawyers conclude trial without calling any witnesses Defense Team Rests in Paul Manafort Case
Glenn Montgomery | 15 August, 2018, 19:43

The move came the day after US prosecutors rested their case against the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump in his trial over alleged tax and bank fraud.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been tasked with investigating those allegations, as well as possible collusion with the Trump campaign, although that's not part of the fraud case against Manafort.

It was also alleged at trial that Manafort, in November 2016, passed on to Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the name of the chairman of Federal Savings Bank for consideration for a post in the administration.

A Manafort conviction would undermine efforts by President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers to paint Mueller's inquiry as a political witch hunt, while an acquittal would be a setback for the special counsel.

Kevin Downing, Manafort's lawyer, simply said that "the defense rests".

He said Manafort "lies on his tax returns and lies to bank after bank after bank".

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and was elevated to campaign chair in May.

Manafort chose not to testify or call witness in his defense on the charges of tax evasion and bank fraud.

At the same time, the judge overseeing the trial rejected Manafort's motion to throw out the 18 charges against him.

Manafort made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before he took an unpaid position with Trump's campaign that lasted five months.

The closely watched case is expected to go to the 12-person jury later on Wednesday, after prosecutors and Manafort's lawyers make their closing arguments and the judge issues instructions to the jury.

Besides the trial underway in the U.S. district court in Alexandria, Virginia, Manafort faces multiple charges of conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice filed separately by Mueller's team in the Washington, DC district court. The focus in Paul Manafort's fraud trial shifts to the defense after prosecutors rested their case.

Over the course of the trial, Manafort's attorneys have sought to pin the blame for any financial wrongdoing on his former business partner, Rick Gates, who was indicted alongside Manafort.

Manafort's attorneys accused Gates of lying to federal agents and attacked him as untrustworthy.

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