Paul Manafort's lawyers conclude trial without calling any witnesses


Attorneys for Paul Manafort rested their case on Tuesday without calling any witnesses, including the former Trump campaign chairman himself, who told the judge he did not want to testify in his own defense against bank and tax fraud charges.

The decision comes after Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion seeking to acquit Mr. Manafort, alleging prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office did not prove their case.

After hearing some 20 witnesses for prosecutors describe how Manafort allegedly evaded taxes on millions of dollars and repeatedly lied to banks as he borrowed millions more, a jury of 12 could begin deliberating on the case as early as late Wednesday.

They also put 388 exhibits into evidence, including doctored financial statements, loan applications, tax documents, emails and photographs.

That announcement on the 11th day of the trial for President Trump's former campaign chairman closed almost two weeks of testimony prompted by the prosecution.

Manafort arrives for arraignment on charges of witness tampering at District Court in Washington in June, part of the case against him in a separate, upcoming trial.

Manafort is facing 18-counts of tax and banking crimes, and has pleaded not guilty to each one.

The prosecution rested Monday after outlining an alleged attempt by Manafort to secure a Trump administration job for a Chicago banker who approved a $16 million loan for him.

Manafort's decision not to testify and not to call witnesses came after Ellis rejected a defense motion that the case should be dismissed on grounds the government failed to meet its burden of proof.

Besides the trial underway in the U.S. district court in Alexandria, Virginia, Manafort faces multiple charges of conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice filed separately by Mueller's team in the Washington, DC district court. During testimony, Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and conducting an extramarital affair. He said the Federal Savings Bank ended up losing $11.8 million on the loan. The defense rested their case.

The courtroom was sealed for about two hours Tuesday morning, before the defense rested, though it's unclear what matter the lawyers were discussing.

This comes as his defense team decided not to present a case on his behalf and did not call up any witnesses.

Andrew McCarthy predicted the defense's closing argument in Paul Manafort's trial will hone in on one person: Rick Gates.