Defense Team Rests in Paul Manafort Case

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Prosecutors also allege Manafort sought to hide from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) millions of dollars in income from his political consulting work in Ukraine and elsewhere.

On Wednesday, Manafort, wearing a blue suit and blue shirt, rose, along with everyone else on the courtroom as jurors took their seats.

Manafort is accused of fraudulent banking and tax activities, including deceiving banks into granting loans and hiding his income from tax authorities.

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 US election. Manafort himself chose not to testify.

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.

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

Members of the defense team for Paul Manafort from left Jay Nanavati Thomas Zehnle Brian Ketcham Richard Westling and Kevin Downing leave feder
Members of the defense team for Paul Manafort from left Jay Nanavati Thomas Zehnle Brian Ketcham Richard Westling and Kevin Downing leave feder

"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud". Witnesses testified at trial that Calk pushed the loans through because he wanted a post in the Trump administration.

It's time for final arguments in the financial fraud trial of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

During the trial, more than two dozen witnesses took the stand and portrayed Manafort, 69, as a lavish spender with little regard for the law.

Closing arguments will begin next, followed by jury deliberations.

Prosecutors have requested two hours for their closings - an opportunity to stitch the barrage of documents and hours of often-technical witness testimony they have presented to jurors over the last two weeks into a cohesive narrative. Ellis made this clear during his conversation with Manafort. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and has provided much of the drama of the trial so far.

The defense attorneys' decision means that the closely watched case is expected to go to the 12-person jury on Wednesday, after prosecutors and Manafort's lawyers make their closing arguments and instructions are issued to the jury. During testimony, Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes".

Federal Bureau of Investigation fires 'stop'-Trump agent Peter Strzok
A senior counterintelligence agent, Strzok was sacked Friday, though news of the dismissal was made public by his lawyer today. After leaving Mueller's investigation, Strzok was reassigned to human resources but was still employed by the bureau.

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