Tuesday marks the 11th day of the bank- and tax-fraud trial of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager. The defense rested its case without calling any witnesses after the judge denied a motion to acquit Manafort on four of the 18 counts against him. It comes just a day after prosecutors wrapped up their case on Monday after more than a week of testimony from dozens of witnesses.
The prosecution alleged Manafort intentionally broke the law by hiding income he earned while working for then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is pro-Russian. Prosecutors also alleged Manafort resorted to fraudulent bank loans to uphold an extravagant lifestyle after Yanukovych was ousted in 2014.
Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner, was the prosecution’s star witness. Gates, also charged with financial crimes, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Manafort in a deal struck with the special counsel back in February. Gates testified that his crimes were committed under the direction of Manafort who hid millions of dollars from the IRS in foreign bank accounts by falsifying tax returns.
Manafort’s former accountant, Cindy Laporta, also testified that under the direction of Gates, she helped falsify Manafort’s tax records, saving him about $400,000 in taxes.
Prosecutors tied up their case with testimony from Federal Savings Bank official James Brennan who said the bank disregarded “red flags” to grant Manafort $16 million in loans in 2016.
Brennan testified that his bank’s founder and chairman, Stephen Calk, wanted a position in the Trump administration and helped push through the risky loans.
What’s next? Closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday morning. After that, the jury will begin deliberations to decide Manafort’s fate. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges of tax and banking crimes.