Closing arguments were expected Wednesday in the trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman accused of tax evasion and bank fraud.
Manafort’s defense rested its case Tuesday without calling any witnesses. Manafort himself chose not to testify.
It’s the first trial to emerge from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, although the case didn’t address allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller has been tasked with investigating those allegations, as well as possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
But as a result of the ongoing probe, Mueller’s legal team says it discovered Manafort hiding millions of dollars in income he received advising Ukrainian politicians. The defense has tried to blame Manafort’s financial mistakes on his former deputy, Rick Gates. Defense attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they’ve sought to undermine his testimony.
Manafort’s decision not to testify and not to call witnesses was announced by his attorney, Kevin Downing, before the jury on Tuesday afternoon. Asked by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III whether he wished to testify in his defense, Manafort responded: “No, sir.” (AP)