Government rests in ex-Trump campaign chief Manafort's fraud trial

Prosecution rests case against Paul Manafort

Prosecution rests case in Paul Manafort trial

The case stands as the first major test for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is now leading the probe into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election - including whether there was any collusion between President Donald Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.

United States prosecutors on Monday rested their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after 10 days of testimony alleging how he evaded taxes and defrauded banks, with the defense set to decide on Tuesday if it will call any witnesses.

He testified that Manafort often asked him to present false information to accountants and banks to help illegally reduce his tax bill or obtain loans through fraud.

Manafort's defense attorneys formally asked the court to dismiss the case, a type of request that typically happens at the end of a prosecution's presentation and is usually quickly set aside by the trial judge. Gates was also forced to admit embezzling a fortune from Manafort and having an extramarital affair.

Other witnesses have said Calk pushed the loans through because he wanted a post in the Trump administration.

If he were to testify, Manafort also would have also opened himself up to cross-examination by the prosecutors, and would have had to explain several emails and banking forms with his name and signature on them. But Brennan says that rejection was overruled by Federal Savings Bank chairman Stephen Calk. Calk had hoped to land a Cabinet-level position in the new Trump administration, a former bank executive testified Friday.

Judge TS Ellis said he would talk to Manafort on Tuesday about whether he wanted to take the stand, something that legal experts say is highly unlikely.

In the November 30, 2016, email to Kushner, Manafort passed along Calk's resume along with two other names of people he said "should be a part of the Trump administration". The 3 indivituals are people who I believe advance DT agenda. She spoke directly to the question of whether Manafort knew he needed to disclose to the federal government his foreign bank accounts. "They will be totally reliable and responsive to the Trump White House", Manafort wrote, providing brief biographies for Calk and the other two candidates.

Brennan testified Monday that he faced implicit pressure from Calk to get the deal with Manafort done. "His background is strong in defense issues, management and finance".

Prosecutors contend Manafort hid a significant portion of the approximately $60 million he earned as a consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, then lied to borrow millions more.

The prosecution also wants to recall Paula Liss, an agent with the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The only reason the rating was even that high was because Calk pushed for it, Brennan said.

Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, rested his case Tuesday morning.

The trial is the first to emerge from Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, but neither Manafort nor Gates have been charged in connection with their Trump campaign work. Ellis took the motion under advisement.

Last week, Manafort's lawyers hammered at the credibility of the government's star witness, Richard Gates, accusing him of being a liar, an embezzler and an adulterer.

It was unclear if Ellis will make public the reason behind an unexpected recess on Friday that lasted into the midafternoon and included a lengthy discussion with the lawyers and judge at the bench, the contents of which remain under seal. The judge left the courtroom that day and later admonished jurors repeatedly to not discuss the case.

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