Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Rests its case against former Trump aide Manafort

Prosecution rests case against Paul Manafort Prosecution rests case in Paul Manafort trial
Gerardo Duncan | 17 August, 2018, 19:25

On Monday, Manafort's team formally requested the court dismiss the case, a move generally seen as procedural following the prosecution's presentation.

PHOTO: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, arrives at federal court in Washington, June 15, 2018.

The exchange was submitted as evidence on Monday by prosecutors in Manafort's trial.

The trial is the first courtroom test for Mueller, who indicted Manafort in October 2017 as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election.

Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, who led the campaign from May to August 2016 with Gates at his side.

Manafort, 69, is charged with a number of financial crimes including bank fraud and money laundering. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and provided much of the drama of the trial so far.

The government says Manafort hid around $16 million United States in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014 by disguising money he earned advising politicians in Ukraine as loans and hiding it in foreign banks.

A witness on Friday detailed the level of involvement by Stephen Calk, the CEO of Federal Savings Bank, in helping Manafort get loans for which he might normally have been rejected.

Gates said he helped Manafort commit crimes in an effort to lower his tax bill and fund his lavish lifestyle. During testimony, Gates was also forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair.

The trial has attracted packed galleries to the federal courthouse each day, with U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III setting a pretty brisk pace for the proceedings, the first case to come to trial as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The admittedly impatient judge has pushed the government to speed up its case.

The case against Manafort has barely referenced his work as President Trump's campaign chairman and has not indicated if he may fit into the larger picture of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign that Mueller's team is investigating.

As his business hemorrhaged money, Manafort made a decision to take out loans on various properties he owned, but prosecutors say he lied about his debts and income to get those loans approved.

Brennan even rated one loan for Manafort risky but doable in a memorandum used by regulators and the bank.

Because Calk had predetermined that TFSB would make the loan, Brennan said he felt pressure to give it the bare minimum rating for approval, a 4, to avoid raising red flags for federal regulators who sniff out improper loans. Brennan also said Manafort left off mortgages on two NY properties on the application. Witnesses testified at trial that Calk pushed the loans through because he wanted a post in the Trump administration.

Calk also listed 19 potential ambassadorships.

Manafort also suggested two other possible Trump appointees, Pat Sink and Vernon Parker, according to the email released Monday. The 3 indivituals are people who I believe advance DT agenda.

Ellis eventually made changes that appeased the prosecution, but the back and forth highlighted the tense relationship between the government and Ellis throughout the trial. "His background is strong in defense issues, management and finance".

The bank lost $11.8 million on the loans and dipped into its reserve pool to cover those losses, Brennan testified Monday to audible "oofs" from the public.

Before completing their case, prosecutors will call James Brennan, an executive at the Federal Savings Bank.

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