Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Paul Manafort jury to hear closing arguments in fraud trial

Paul Manafort jury to hear closing arguments in fraud trial

After jurors were excused on Tuesday, lawyers for both sides conferred with the judge in open court on the language Ellis will use to instruct the jurors in their deliberations.

Manafort's legal team also lost their attempt to have the charges thrown out without going to a jury.

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

"The reason Mr Manafort put on no witnesses in his defense is that his lawyers and he believed that they created doubt through their examination of the government's witnesses", said Jacob S. Frenkel, a former United States federal prosecutor and partner at Dickinson Wright law firm.

Reporters and spectators line up outside the courthouse to watch scheduled closing arguments in the bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday.

The trial is the first to arise in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller of ties between Trump and Russian Federation and related matters.

Asked whether he was satisfied with the advice he'd gotten from his attorneys, Manafort said, "I am, your honour".

Gates testified that he committed crimes with Manafort, including concealing offshore accounts to avoid reporting them to the USA government at tax time and claiming false income to get loans.

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Manafort made the comments during a brief questioning Tuesday.

Judge Ellis mentioned in his 31 years on the bench he has had much longer trials than this one and he has never allowed for two hour long closing arguments.

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.

Prosecutors allege Manafort knowingly misled banks about his income in order to secure personal loans he needed to fund a lavish lifestyle and to service debts including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on baseball tickets.

This comes as his defense team decided not to present a case on his behalf and did not call up any witnesses.

Special counsel prosecutors rested their case on Monday after bringing more than two dozen accountants and associates of Manafort to the stand.

Special Counsel's Office Prosecutor Greg Andres, in a dark blue suit, white shirt and black tie, took a sip of water and began his closing argument at about 10 a.m.

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