Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1534235366

Manafort trial: Prosecution rests case against former Trump campaign chairman as defence asks Judge TS Ellis to dismiss charges

More than two dozen witnesses have testified during the case so far

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
,Chris Riotta
Monday 13 August 2018 23:36 BST
Ex-Trump Campaign Chair Manafort's Court Arrival

Prosecutors have rested their case against former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after 10 days of testimony alleging how he avoided taxes on at least $16 million of income and lied to banks to maintain an extravagant lifestyle once his work for pro-Kremlin politicians in Ukraine dried up.

More than two dozen witnesses painted a picture of Mr Manafort, 69, as a lavish spender with little regard for the law. The prosecution allege that Mr Manafort stashed his money from his political consulting work in 31 undisclosed offshore bank accounts, and skirted taxes on that income by wiring it directly to vendors to snap up real estate, bespoke suits, cars and antique rugs. Mr Manafort denies all charges against him.

It is unclear whether Mr Manafort's lawyers will call any witnesses, and legal experts say it is highly unlikely that Mr Manafort himself will take the stand. Closing statements could take place as early as Tuesday, after which the 12-person jury will begin deliberating.

The trial was in its 10th day in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The case arose from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

One of the last witnesses for the prosecution was James Brennan, an executive at Federal Savings Bank, which extended $16 million in loans to Mr Manafort.

Mr Brennan said bank president Javier Ubarri made an initial decision to reject a $9.5 million loan on Mr Manafort'€™s Hampton estate, but bank CEO Steve Calk overruled it. “It closed because Mr Calk wanted it to close,” Mr Brennan said about the loan.

Mr Brennan, asked about whether the bank made money from lending to Mr Manafort, said the bank has written off the loans and “took a hit” of $11.8 million.

Prosecutors contend Mr Manafort hid a significant portion of the approximately $60 million he earned as a consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, then lied to borrow millions more

Please wait a moment for the live blog to load



Hello and welcome to our coverage of the 10th Day of Paul Manafort's bank fraud trial.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 15:31

The prosecution will likely rest its case today.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 15:33

And if the defence does not call any witnesses, we will likely have closing statements on Tuesday and then possibly the jury could start deliberations on Wednesday.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 15:34

Friday's testimony was delayed nearly five hours by private discussions between Judge TS Ellis and lawyers for both sides. The content of the meetings have yet to be revealed publicly.

Once the trial picked back up, jurors heard from two employees at Federal Savings Bank and a ticket operations manager for the New York Yankees.

The testimony by Yankees ticket operations manager Irfan Kirimca showed more big spending by Manafort, who according to Kirimca's testimony, had a multi-year agreement with the team to buy four seats for 81 games in a season, totaling more than $200,000 per year.

Payments for the tickets were paid through one of the dozens of Cypriot accounts the prosecution allege Mr Manafort allegedly hid from the government.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 16:08

Here is a nice read from the New York Times on the trial so far:

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 16:25

Throughout the trial, Mr Manafort has followed the evidence presented closely, taking notes with his glasses on and whispering to his lawyers to discuss the action.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 16:44

The trial is set to get underway at 1pm ET.  The prosecution also wants to recall Paula Liss, an agent with the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The defence is seeking to block further questioning of her, and the judge has not yet ruled.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 17:05

  ↵Outside of the Manafort trial, but connected to the Mueller investigation - the FBI has fired agent Peter Strzok, who was discovered to have sent anti-Donald Trump messages in the summer of 2016.

Mr Strzok was removed from the Mueller inquiry last summer.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 17:35

Prosecutors Monday morning defended four key charges in Paul Manafort’s criminal trial, after the judge overseeing the case in Virginia federal court questioned whether a bank founder who allegedly wanted Mr Manafort’s help to boost  could have been defrauded.

Prosecutors said Judge TS Ellis had pointed out to both legal teams that if Federal Savings Bank founder Stephen Calk approved loans to Mr Manafort for personal reasons — like an appointment as Army secretary in the Trump administration — the bank couldn’t be defrauded of the $16 million it gave Mr Manafort.

But prosecutors allege that Mr Manafort gave the bank fake documents about his assets.

“Mr Calk is a co-conspirator, and he participated in the conspiracy to defraud the bank,” prosecutor Greg Andres told the judge on Friday out of earshot of the jury. 

In their filing on Monday, prosecutors, in their filing Monday morning, request that Judge Ellis “recognize the lack of merit in any defense argument” that Mr Calk’s alleged complicity excuse Mr Manafort’s fraudulent representations to the bank.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 17:57

Action is underway in court:

Prosecutors and then the defense will question James Brennan of Federal Savings Bank, who is one of a number of witnesses to be given immunity to testify.

Steve Anderson13 August 2018 18:45

Join our commenting forum

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


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in