Manafort trial moves to defense as U.S. prosecutors wrap up

Manafort in his booking

Manafort in his booking

Attorneys for Paul Manafort rested their case Tuesday morning without presenting any evidence or witnesses to blunt prosecutor's accusations the one time Trump campaign manager committed bank and tax fraud.

The testimony from James Brennan, a vice president at Federal Savings Bank whose chairman allegedly sought a role in the Trump campaign, represented the capstone to the prosecution's case that has featured 28 witnesses over 10 days here. Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and an extramarital affair.

Manafort's decision not to testify and not to call witnesses was announced by his attorney, Kevin Downing, before the jury on Tuesday afternoon.

This email, as seen below, is a correspondence between former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.

Westling also asked Brennan if it's acceptable for the borrower to create his or her own profit and loss statement for a loan application, a reference to prosecutors' allegation that Manafort improperly inflated his income in his loan applications.

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Brennan also testified that bank employees discovered that Manafort had loans on two other properties but did not know which properties they were associated with. The trial, which is expected to begin in mid-September, will be tried by some of the same prosecutors handling the current case in Northern Virginia. One such name in this email is Stephen Calk, one of the owners of the Federal Savings Bank, which Manafort is accused of conspiring with to defraud. 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.

The prosecution also recalled a Treasury Department agent - over the objections of Manafort's defence team - to testify that two of his companies hadn't filed any reports disclosing the foreign bank accounts as required by federal law.

The closed hearing came after the judge delayed Manafort's trial for hours last Friday without explanation.

USA prosecutors on Monday rested their case against Manafort after 10 days of testimony alleging he evaded taxes and defrauded banks.

Defence attorneys have so far blamed any wrongdoing on Rick Gates, Manafort's former protege, who testified August 6.

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"We've rested because Mr. Manafort and his legal team do not think the government has met its proof", Downing told Reuters. Along the way, they've not only faced an aggressive defense team but tongue-lashings from the judge, who pushed the government to speed up its case.

"If I had my recommendation. the loan would not be made", said.

The judge is expected to decide Tuesday on whether to grant a defense motion to dismiss the case before the case goes to the jury - a frequent defense request that is rarely granted.

Ellis, in making his ruling, said that the defense made a "significant" argument, but ultimately ruled the question "is an issue for the jury".

After that income dried up, prosecutors say, Manafort lied to banks to get loans to continue the lifestyle to which they say he had become accustomed.

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An array of witnesses over the past two weeks backed the special counsel's claim that Manafort evaded taxes on $60 million earned from overseas lobbying and consulting work for a Russian-backed Ukrainian political party.

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