Paul Manafort's lawyers conclude trial without calling any witnesses

Chris Wattie  Reuters

Chris Wattie Reuters

Attorneys for former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort rested their case on Tuesday, declining to present evidence to rebut the government's allegations that the political consultant concealed overseas earnings from the USA government to avoid paying taxes and borrowed money using bogus financial documents.

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 hiding millions of dollars in income he received advising Ukrainian politicians.

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.

Andres argued that while Manafort did not "choose a Boy Scout" as his associate, Gates' testimony was corroborated by other evidence, including almost 400 exhibits.

The decision by Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, not to call witnesses clears the way for the jury to hear closing arguments in the trial, now in its third week.

Defense lawyers presented Judge T.S. Ellis with a motion for acquittal, but the motion was denied.

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Prosecutors say Manafort falsely declared that money to be loans rather than income to keep from paying taxes on it.

Lawyers for Paul Manafort rested his defense Tuesday without calling any witnesses or having him testify to his fraud trial.

Manafort's attorneys have focused their defense on his longtime aide Rick Gates, who was indicted alongside Manafort but pleaded guilty to a lesser charges in a deal with authorities. Manafort's attorneys grilled Gates on the admissions in attempt to discredit him as a witness.

James Brennan, a vice president at Calk's Chicago bank, Federal Savings, testified in court the bank was aware Manafort had lied about his finances to obtain the loans but proceeded anyway because of Calk.

After 10 days of testimony from more than two dozen witnesses, prosecutors wrapped up its case against Manafort on Monday. Downing also said the defense team was feeling "confident" heading into Wednesday's closing remarks.

The statements cap a 12-day trial at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., where Manafort faces a total of 18 counts of bank and tax fraud. During testimony, Gates was also forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair.

Prosecutor Andres said he was not asking the jury to like Gates.

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