Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

‘Manafort and his lies’ at heart of case, prosecution argues

Rick Gates Modal Trigger Rick Gates REUTERS
| 15 August, 2018, 19:42

Manafort's legal team also lost their attempt to have the charges thrown out without going to a jury. Asked by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III whether he wished to testify in his defence, Manafort responded: "No, sir".

Though Gates definitively admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort at his old job, Trump's inaugural committee chairman is declining to say how much money Gates may have taken _ or whether any further review of inaugural spending is warranted.

While several others charged in the investigation, including former Manafort aide Richard Gates, have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the Mueller probe, Manafort has stubbornly battled the prosecution's charges.

Manafort's trial is the first courtroom test for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who indicted him in October 2017 as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Attorneys for Manafort, who is accused of tax evasion and bank fraud, will have their chance in front of jurors later in the day. Prosecutors allege he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.


"Any purported misstatements regarding Mr. Manafort's income or credit card debt were immaterial" to the bank's decision about whether to make the loans, according to the filing.

Attorney Kevin Downing will likely deliver closing arguments for the defense and argue that Manafort did not intentionally engage in wrongdoing.

On Monday, the vice president of Federal Savings Bank, Jim Brennan, testified he knew Manafort lied about his finances when he applied for $16 million in loans from the bank. The prosecution depicted Manafort as using the millions of dollars hidden in offshore accounts to fund a luxurious lifestyle.

"They are all jury issues", Ellis said, explaining that he believed it should be up to the jury to decide.

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. Prosecutor Greg Andres, who has had the strongest confrontations with Ellis, said "yes".

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