Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

5 takeaways from Day 10 of Paul Manafort's trial

5 takeaways from Day 10 of Paul Manafort's trial

United States prosecutors on Monday rested their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after 10 days of testimony alleging how he evaded taxes and defrauded banks, with the defense set to decide on Tuesday if it will call any witnesses.

James Brennan, a vice president of Federal Savings Bank, said he faced so much pressure from his bank's chairman about Manafort's ability to borrow the $16 million that he lied on a form reviewed by federal regulators and the bank's directors about the stability of the loan. Manafort's lawyers have yet to say whether they will put on a case.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.

"Mr. Calk is a co-conspirator, and he participated in the conspiracy to defraud the bank", prosecutor Greg Andres said at the sidebar, in a transcript unsealed over the weekend.

Brennan also described how he asked Stephen Calk's brother, John Calk, another major Federal Savings Bank shareholder, to sign off on the loans to Manafort, but John Calk refused.

Brennan is expected to be one of the government's final witnesses before prosecutors rest their case.

Because Calk had predetermined that TFSB would make the loan, Brennan said he felt pressure to give it the bare minimum rating for approval, a 4, to avoid raising red flags for federal regulators who sniff out improper loans.

Manafort, 69, faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted on numerous 18 charges of lying on tax forms and loan applications in the case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters.

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He also urged the worldwide community to raise their voice so that the Kashmir people could get their inalienable right. Pakistan Rangers officials at the Wagah border crossing exchanged candies with Indian Border Security Force personnel.

Manafort's defense team believed the four Federal Savings Bank fraud charges could be dismissed because of previous comments made by Ellis suggesting the bank couldn't be defrauded if its founder wanted Manafort to have the loans. He said he also found several "inconsistencies" in the amount of income Manafort reported for his business.

Mueller's team hinted in a sidebar conference with Ellis and Manafort's lawyers Friday that Calk is facing more scrutiny than the allegations heard so far at Manafort's trial.

It is unclear whether Manafort's lawyers will call any witnesses, and legal experts say it is highly unlikely that Manafort himself will take the stand.

The email detailed some of "the issues we were having" regarding one of Manafort's loan applications, Brennan said. Witnesses testified at trial that Calk pushed the loans through because he wanted a post in the Trump administration. The defense has tried to blame Manafort's financial mistakes on his former assistant, Richard Gates.

Mr Manafort is accused of fraudulently obtaining the loans by inflating his income and concealing other financial information. The judge left the courtroom that day toward the jury room, and later admonished jurors repeatedly to not discuss the case.

While the contents of the motion are unknown, the development comes after an unexplained delay in the trial and unusually detailed instructions by Ellis to the jurors on Friday, in which he pressed them not to talk to anyone about the case.

In addition, Brennan said a member of the bank's own credit committee objected to Manafort's application, only to be overruled by CEO Steve Calk.

In all, the bank lost $11.8 million on the loans it made to Manafort, Brennan said.

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