As it happenedended1534370421

Manafort trial: Jury to deliberate after prosecutor accuses former Trump campaign manager of lying - as it happened

Paul Manafort denies all of the charges against him

Clark Mindock
New York
,Mythili Sampathkumar
Wednesday 15 August 2018 21:13
Manafort Trial Turns from Prosecution to Defense as Manafort's wife and attorneys arrive

Closing arguments have concluded in the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is on trial on financial fraud charges.

The trial, in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first to arise from US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But the charges involve tax and bank fraud, not possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's campaign for president.

Prosecutors called more than two dozen witnesses to the stand during their case since it started on 31 July, including Mr Manafort's long-time right-hand man, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to two charges and is cooperating with the government.

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

Mr Manafort's lawyers decided not to call any witnesses, and Mr Manafort himself will not testify in his own defence.

The defence have sought to portray Mr Gates as being at the centre of any fraud, saying Mr Manafort was merely too trusting.

Please wait a moment for the live blog to load.


Hello and welcome to our coverage of the 12th day of Paul Manafort's trial

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:24

Closing arguments have already started. They will be followed by instructions being given to the jury, before the are then sent out to deliberate.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:25

Prosecutors have requested two hours for their closings — an opportunity to stitch the barrage of documents and hours of often-technical witness testimony they have presented to jurors over the last two weeks. Judge TS Ellis had seemed amenable to it last week, but had pushed for shorter closing arguments on Monday.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:36

Prosecutors will also introduce some evidence they had not presented through witnesses but are allowed to discuss during closings.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:36

Prosecutor Greg Andres began at about 10am Speaking slowly, according to those in the courtroom – at times reading and at times looking up at jurors from a lectern that was turned to face the jury.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:37

“When you follow the trail of Mr Manafort’s money, it is littered with lies,” Mr Andres told the jury.

Mr Manafort lying on bank documents and "hiding" foreign accounts is a central theme of the prosecutions case.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:41

With the sheer amount of paper evidence provided by the prosecution - from bank records to tax invoices, from emails to profit and loss statements - prosecutor Greg Andres has called on the jury to take careful notes.

"Write down the exhibit numbers so you can review them in the jury room during deliberations,” he said near the outset of his argument, which he promised would be less than two hours long.

Some of the documents, he explained, had not yet been shown in court: “I’m going to do my best to refer to the exhibit numbers,” he said, because “some of the exhibits you’re going to be seeing for the first time.”

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 15:57

Mr Andres sought to highlight for jurors a simple fact: Paul Manafort reported on his tax returns that he did not have foreign bank accounts, when in fact he did.

Displaying charts to jurors that demonstrated his point, Mr Andres alleged that not only did Mr Manafort have such accounts, but he kept millions of dollars in them, much of which he funneled to the US to buy luxury clothes, cars and property.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 16:30

Prosector Greg Andres has  pre-empted defense attempts to lay blame for the fraudulent financial papers and hidden accounts at the feet of Paul Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates.

Ten witnesses —  including an FBI agent, an IRS employee, and Mr Manafort’s former bookkeepers — testified before Mr Gates took the stand and all their testimony showed Mr Manafort was not ignorant of his financial activity, Mr Andres told the jury.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 17:14

Now onto the alleged bank fraud:

“Time and time again, Mr. Manafort provided false information” to banks, Mr Andres said, adding that “any number of bank documents that Mr. Manafort signed” explicitly say that doing so is a crime.

Mr Manafort denies all charges against him.

Steve Anderson15 August 2018 17:15

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments