Manafort trial turns from prosecution’s case to his defense

Prosecution rests case against Paul Manafort

Asked whether he was satisfied with the advice he'd gotten from his attorneys, Manafort said, "I am, your honor".

One of Manafort's lawyers, Thomas Zehnle, said they plan to tell the jury that Manafort had no obligation to report foreign bank accounts in the years he owned only 50 percent of his firm, Davis Manafort International.

"It would go to the character of the borrower", Brennan said, "which should mean that we would raise a red flag".

The judge in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial has closed the courtroom from the public while he hears argument on a sealed motion filed by the former Trump campaign chairman.

That information led senior executives to reject one of the loans.

It's possible the defense believes it has created enough doubt in the jurors' minds through their questioning of prosecution witnesses over the last 10 days, and that it might have a leg up in the way jurors will be instructed to decide the case, especially given Ellis' inclinations.

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 charges connected to his work advising Ukraine's former president, Viktor Yanukovich, and his political party.

Brennan said the Chicago-based bank lost $11.8 million because it had to write off a significant portion of two loans it made to Manafort. The only reason the rating was even that high was because Calk pushed for it, Brennan said.

Westling quickly tried to qualify Brennan's testimony, hinting that TFSB was actively pursuing the collateral - much of which comprised some of Manafort's properties - but that the government had frozen those assets. None of the evidence suggested that Manafort had conspired with Russian intelligence to help Trump win the White House, the primary focus of the Mueller investigation. He says they were the two largest loans the bank had made when they were issued in late 2016 and early 2017.

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If he were to testify, Manafort also would have also opened himself up to cross-examination by the prosecutors, and would have had to explain several emails and banking forms with his name and signature on them.

Pressed by Judge T.S. Ellis III whether he was implicating himself for giving the loan an "average" grade he knew it did not deserve, Brennan said yes.

Manafort, through his political consulting firms (first, Davis Manafort Partners, then DMP International), controlled 32 foreign bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United Kingdom, set up by Cypriot lawyer Kypros Chrysostomides, referred to in court as "Dr. K" due to his name's hard pronunciation and spelling for non-Greek speakers.

Still, the proceedings have drawn worldwide attention - as well as Trump's - for what the case reveals about people in the combative president's orbit as Mueller examines the same circles for any election interference or obstruction. Calabresi is a founder and current chairman of the Federalist Society.

The prosecution pressed Ellis to alter instructions about comments the judge had made to emphasize that they should not be considered by the jury. Jeff Sessions deflect criticism of racism.

Attorneys for Concord Management and Consulting argued in the case that the appointments clause requires that the special counsel either be a "principal officer" nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, or be put in place only after Congress passes a law specifically allowing the deputy attorney general to confer the attorney general's prosecutorial authority on an "inferior officer".

There's no indication from prosecutors whether the Trump transition team entertained Manafort's suggestion, or that Kushner was aware of any financial connection between Manafort and Calk.

This article was written by Lynh Bui, Rachel Weiner, Devlin Barrett and Michael Kranish, reporters for The Washington Post.

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