The defense for Paul Manafort rested their case Tuesday without calling the ex-Trump campaign chairman to the stand to testify in the bank and tax fraud case against him.
Addressing the court for the first time during his trial, Manafort stood up and told Judge T.S. Ellis III that he did not want to testify.
After two weeks of testimony from prosecution witnesses, until now it had been unclear whether the defense would put forward witnesses or evidence of their own. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team rested their case Monday afternoon.
The trial now heads to closing arguments, set to begin Wednesday morning. Ellis told both sides to limit those arguments to one and a half hours each.
PROSECUTION RESTS CASE IN MANAFORT CASE
Manafort, 69, is facing tax evasion and bank fraud charges after being accused of hiding income earned from his Ukrainian work from the IRS. He’s also accused of fraudulently obtaining millions in bank loans.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ellis on Tuesday also ruled against the defense’s motion to acquit. The trial was delayed for two hours Tuesday after the morning proceedings began under seal and were closed to the public and press.
Last week, the prosecution’s star witness, Rick Gates – Manafort’s former business partner who struck a plea deal to cooperate with the government — testified that he and Manafort committed bank and tax fraud together.
On Monday, James Brennan, the vice president of The Federal Savings Bank, testified under immunity about a loan the bank gave Manafort. According to Brennan, the bank approved $16 million in loans to Manafort by CEO Stephen Calk, who was angling for a cabinet position in the Trump administration.
When asked by prosecutor Greg Andres if he thought the loan should have been be approved, Brennan replied, “My recommendation was the loan not be made.”
Brennan said the loan was approved because of Calk. He said the Federal Savings Bank ended up losing $11.8 million on the loan.
The prosecution had been expected to rest on Friday. But Ellis mysteriously delayed testimony in the case for five hours on Friday. The postponement was significant, as prosecutors had been hoping to finish calling witnesses Friday — and Ellis has a reputation as a stickler for keeping trials moving.
Manafort’s legal troubles won’t end with this trial. He is also facing charges in a separate federal court case in Washington, including conspiring against the United States, conspiring to launder money, failing to register as an agent of a foreign principal and providing false statements.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.
Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.
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