DEVELOPING: Manafort Lawyers Hammer Mueller’s Prosecutors in Closing Arguments ‘Fishing For a Crime’


Defense attorney Kevin Downing, Paul Manafort

On Tuesday, Paul Manafort opted to skip out on a defense and proceeded to closing arguments instead, reported ABC News.

“Mr. Manafort just rested his case. He did so because he and his legal team believe that the government has not met its burden of proof,” Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing said on Tuesday.

The closing arguments began at 9:30 AM ET Wednesday morning.

Mueller’s prosecutors said in their closing arguments that Manafort’s money is ‘littered with lies.’

Manafort’s defense attorneys hammered the Special Counsel prosecutors Wednesday afternoon after the jurors returned from a lunch recess, arguing the prosecution slapped together a smorgasbord of evidence and failed to prove any crimes were committed by Manafort.

Defense attorney Richard Westling spoke first the Kevin Downing will speak, reported Courthouse News reporter, Brandi Buchman.

Westling told jurors ‘the only reason why Manafort is here is through a “cobbling” together of information by the Special Counsel.’


“Their goal was to stack counts against Paul Manafort and to give you a sense that the evidence was so overwhelming, there’s only one conclusion to make,” argued Westling.

Manafort’s lawyers argued that Mueller’s prosecutors were ‘fishing for a crime’ that never existed and that the indictments were thrown down after “the special counsel showed up and started asking questions.”

Manafort’s defense team also repeatedly hammered the prosecution as a “special counsel” rather than standard DOJ prosecutors arguing that “people do not get prosecuted by typical Justice Department prosecutors” for the alleged crimes in Manafort’s case, reported Politico.

More transcript from Wednesday’s courtroom showdown via far left Politico:

Westling instead cast Manafort’s as a talented political consultant who engendered bipartisan respect for his work on the campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole and Donald Trump. In those efforts, they said, he would involve a team to help him with his tasks. “Sometimes the people we rely on are trustworthy,” Westling said, “and sometimes they’re not.”

The defense team also continued its effort to paint Gates, the longtime former Manafort aide, as an admitted liar and thief.

“That is the real Rick Gates,” said defense attorney Kevin Downing, adding that the longtime deputy — who remained a part of Trump’s team after Manafort departed in August 2016 — “tried to look all clean-shaven” for the jury. But after one question, Downing said, “he fell apart and showed himself to be the liar that he is.”

Manafort’s attorneys dug in on who the Mueller team didn’t bring to the stand as it presented its case over the last two weeks. Manafort’s attorneys noted that the banking officials who were invited to testify didn’t have final approval over the loans the defendant was seeking, while the executives who did have that authority were left out of the case.

“It’s important for you to determine what that means,” Westling said.

COMING UP NEXT….

“We’re on a brief recess before prosecutor Greg Andres will be given a chance to rebut the defense’s closing arguments. Following that, Judge Ellis says he plans on giving a jury instructions, which will take about 1.5hrs, the judge said.”

Update: The Manafort trial in Alexandria, VA has officially come to an end. Manafort’s fate is in the jury’s hands after they receive instruction from Judge Ellis which may take up the rest of the day–deliberations may commence tomorrow, reports Brandi Buchman of Courthouse News.

Mueller’s prosecutors rested their case Monday, day 10 of the bank fraud and tax evasion trial against Paul Manafort playing out in an Alexandria, VA courtroom.

The prosecution brought forward 23 witnesses; five of the witnesses testified against Paul Manafort under the protection of immunity.

Manafort’s defense lawyers told the jurors that the prosecution never even called the banking officials with authority to approve of Manafort’s loans to testify, rather they called in witnesses who don’t have the final approval authority to testify under the protection of immunity.

Manafort is charged with 18 counts and is facing up to 305 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

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