Prosecution: Manafort lied to keep more money

Prosecutors spent over 90 minutes Wednesday morning methodically laying out their case that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort repeatedly lied in order to finance an extravagant lifestyle.

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 9:57 AM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 10:13 AM

Jurors are set to begin deliberating Thursday morning whether to convict President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort of bank fraud and tax evasion.

The high-stakes prosecution of Manafort by special counsel Robert Mueller's team reached its conclusion with Wednesday's closing arguments -- with prosecutors accusing Manafort of "lies" and defense lawyers questioning the credibility of key witnesses.

"Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and he lied to get more money when he didn't," said prosecutor Greg Andres. "This is a case about lies."

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberations at 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. Judge T.S. Ellis instructed jurors Wednesday evening not to communicate with anyone about the trial.

"Nothing about a cellphone or an iPhone -- goodness, this is now outdated -- a BlackBerry," Ellis said.

The case played out while Trump and the political world watched. Personal revelations about Manafort -- such as his ownership of a $15,000 ostrich jacket -- provided sparks over the course of the 12-day trial.

As the trial reached its end -- with Manafort's defense team deciding not to call any witnesses and arguing that prosecutors hadn't met their burden of proof -- Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, watched, continuing to question the credibility of the special counsel's investigation from afar.

RELATED: Giuliani claims Mueller waiting for Manafort verdict to negotiate Trump interview

A win for Mueller's team would send shock waves through Trump's orbit of aides, friends and outside advisers and would heighten anticipation for Mueller's next moves. A loss would increase the chorus of calls for Mueller's investigation to end.

Manafort's defense attorneys suggested Wednesday that the entire prosecution was politically motivated.

Defense attorney Richard Westling said Manafort became the special counsel's victim in a "selective process of pulling" his financial records to concoct a narrative of an "elaborate fraud scheme."

It was "not until the special counsel showed up and started asking questions" that anyone seemed concerned about Manafort's dealings with banks, Westling said, noting that none of the banks involved reported the alleged frauds to the authorities.

He said the special counsel's goal was to "stack up the counts" against Manafort.

Ellis, the judge, instructed the jury not to consider the Manafort team's characterizations of Mueller's team's motives.

'This is a case about lies'

In his closing, Andres argued that Manafort had lied -- repeating the word to the jury several times. He said Manafort had hid his income from Ukraine, lied to federal authorities and defrauded banks.

Manafort's emails, memos and financial records were "littered with lies," Andres said.

He alleged that Manafort's tax returns from 2010 through 2014 are false, and told jurors they must find that Manafort willfully and knowingly lied on the official IRS forms about his income and foreign accounts.

The prosecutor punctuated this by showing the first of several emails the jury would revisit Wednesday -- in which Manafort called one of the 31 foreign accounts "my account." Manafort wrote it "when no one was looking. He did not know one day he would be sitting in this very courtroom," Andres said.

'I'm not asking you to like him'

The testimony of Rick Gates, Manafort's former deputy, took center stage on both sides Wednesday.

Gates has pleaded guilty to crimes in federal court in Washington and is cooperating with Mueller's team. He admitted last week in court to having embezzled money from Manafort and having an extramarital affair a decade ago.

Andres told jurors that before they even consider the potentially fraught testimony of Gates, they should look to 10 other witnesses' testimony and evidence to find Manafort guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

"The star witness in this case is the documents," Andres said.

"Mr. Manafort is a mentor to Mr. Gates, particularly to his own criminal activity," Andres said. He added that Manafort "didn't choose a Boy Scout" to be his partner in crime.

And what about Gates' admitted affair? "Was it to distract you? Does it matter?" Andres asked the jury.

He pointed out that Manafort's lawyers never asked Gates about the alleged bank fraud.

"I'm not asking you to like him," Andres said.

Defense attorney Kevin Downing said Gates "fell apart and showed himself the liar that he is" on the witness stand.

"To the very end, he lied to you," Downing said.

Defense argues Manafort was targeted in 'selective process'

All eyes had been on the defense after it rested without calling any witnesses, with Downing saying Tuesday as he was leaving the courthouse that the defense rested its case because "the government has not met its burden of proof."

Westling referenced Manafort's work on Trump's presidential campaign minutes into his closing, calling Manafort a seasoned political consultant who had earned "great respect" for his work.

Westling also implored the jurors to consider the high burden of proof the government must meet to prove that Manafort is guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."

"Hold the government to its burden, ladies and gentleman," Westling urged the jurors.

Westling conceded that the evidence against Manafort includes emails. But, he contended, "the problem of email evidence is very much the challenge of what does it look like later."

West Lafayette
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 96°
Kokomo
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 93°
Rensselaer
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 90°
Fowler
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Williamsport
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 90°
Frankfort
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 92°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Logansport
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events