The Latest: Manafort judge closes court for sealed motion

Government & Politics By: The Bullet Wire 3:32 pm

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

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.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III says the proceedings and the motion will be kept secret until after Manafort’s case concludes.

The hearing comes after the judge delayed Manafort’s trial for hours last Friday without explanation. The judge left the courtroom that day, walking toward the jury room. He later admonished jurors repeatedly to not discuss the case.

The prosecution has rested its case after presenting evidence they say shows Manafort concealed millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS and fraudulently obtained loans. Manafort’s lawyers have yet to say whether they will put on a case.

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5:05 p.m.

The prosecution has rested its bank fraud and tax evasion case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Prosecutors finished presenting their evidence Monday after weeks of sometimes dramatic testimony from two dozen witnesses. Longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates said he teamed up with his former boss to commit crimes intended to protect Manafort’s finances. Gates was also forced to admit embezzling a fortune from Manafort and having an extramarital affair.

The government says Manafort hid at least $16 million in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014 by disguising income he earned advising politicians in Ukraine as loans and hiding it in foreign banks. Defense lawyers say Gates is a liar trying to avoid jail time under his plea deal.

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4:20 p.m.

A Chicago-based bank lost $11.8 million because it had to write off a significant portion of two loans it made to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

That’s according to the testimony of Federal Savings Bank executive James Brennan in Manafort’s financial fraud trial.

Brennan says the losses stemmed from loans of $9.5 million and $6.5 million made to Manafort. He says they were the two largest loans the bank had made when they were issued in late 2016 and early 2017.

Other witnesses in the trial have said the loans were pushed through by bank chairman Stephen Calk because he wanted a job in the Trump administration.

Manafort is accused of fraudulently obtaining the loans by inflating his income and concealing other financial information. He is fighting the charges.

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3 p.m.

A bank executive said he found several red flags with Paul Manafort’s finances while the former Trump campaign chairman was being considered for $16.5 million in bank loans.

The testimony, on the 10th day of Manafort’s financial fraud trial, comes as the prosecution is expected to rest its case later Monday.

James Brennan, a vice president at Federal Savings Bank, says Manafort failed to disclose mortgages on his loan application. He says he also found several “inconsistencies” in the amount of income Manafort reported for his business.

That information led senior executives to reject one of the loans. But Brennan says that rejection was overruled by Federal Savings Bank chairman Stephen Calk.

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