The Latest: Closing arguments Wednesday in Manafort trial
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial (all times local):
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III made the announcement after Manafort rested his case without calling witnesses or presenting evidence.
Asked by Ellis whether he wished to testify in his defense, Manafort responded: “No, sir.” The decision came after a more than two-hour hearing that was closed from the public.
The judge has not given any explanation for the sealed proceeding, only noting that a transcript of it would become public after Manafort’s case concludes.
Prosecutors have spent more than two weeks presenting evidence they say shows how Manafort hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS. They also say he later defrauded banks.
The defense in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s tax and fraud trial has rested its case without calling any witnesses.
Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, rested his case Tuesday morning.
The decision not to have Manafort testify came after Judge T.S. Ellis III rejected a defense motion to dismiss the government’s case on the theory that it failed to meet its burden of proof.
The actions clear the way for the jury to hear closing arguments in the trial, now in its third week.
Manafort is accused of hiding millions of dollars in income he received advising Ukrainian politicians. The defense has tried to blame Manafort’s financial mistakes on his former assistant, Richard Gates.
The trial of longtime Washington operator Paul Manafort is turning from the prosecution to his defense team.
On Monday, prosecutors rested their financial fraud case against the former Trump campaign chairman, having devoted two weeks of testimony to support their argument that Manafort hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts and obtained millions more in bank loans under false pretenses.
Manafort’s lawyers have not yet said whether they will call any witnesses or present other evidence. They will have to disclose that information Tuesday.
So far the defense team has blamed any wrongdoing on a former Manafort protege, Rick Gates, who testified he and his former boss committed crimes together for years. Defense attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler in seeking to undermine his testimony.