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Special counsel Robert Mueller's team rested its case on Monday against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, who is facing tax evasion, bank fraud and money laundering charges.
The trial, the first of two Manafort faces, is in its tenth day in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and is expected to resume on Tuesday morning. Manafort is accused of failing to report millions of dollars that he was paid for political consulting work in Ukraine, before he briefly served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016. The charges do not involve Manafort's time with Trump.
The trial is the first to arise from Mueller's investigation into purported Russian interference in the 2016 election. The defense is expected to make its case this week and call its witnesses to testify.
Over the course of 10 days, the prosecution called a slew of witnesses, from Manafort's accountant to business partners to bank executives who approved his loan applications, to make its case that Manafort failed to report millions, and then lied to potential lenders when he needed more money. Prosecutors said that from 2010 through 2014, Manafort earned $30,303,344 in personal income but reported less than half of that, $13,832,298, on his tax returns. Prosecutors allege that Manafort hid more than $16 million from the IRS and spent it on luxury items, including home improvements, antiques, fancy suits and even a $15,000 ostrich jacket.
Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and a Trump campaign aide, was the prosecution's star witness. He testified at length about crimes he said he was involved in with and at the direction of Manafort. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February and agreed to cooperate with the government. Manafort’s lawyers have said their client was unaware of any alleged wrong-doing.
While on the stand, Gates also admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort as well as to an extramarital affair, some of which came to light during cross-examination from Manafort's defense team.
Before resting their case on Monday, prosecutors called James Brennan, a vice president at the Federal Savings Bank, to testify. Brennan testified under immunity that there were issues with the loans Manafort sought, including discrepancies on the applications about Manafort's income, his assets and his liabilities. The president of the bank, Brennan said, initially denied the application because of the issues, but the bank's CEO overruled the decision.
Prosecutors rested their case against Manafort around 5 p.m. Monday, and the jury was dismissed for the day. Court will resume at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His attorneys filed a motion for acquittal on some of the bank fraud charges late Monday night, saying that prosecutors have failed to show Manafort misled The Federal Savings Bank.
Manafort's attorneys argue that it is clear from testimony during the trial that the bank was going to make the loans regardless of Manafort's statements about income and about his outstanding bills.