Paul Manafort trial: Prosecution rests

Aaron P. Bernstein  Bloomberg via Getty Images FILE

Prosecutors called Brennan to the stand as they make their case against Manafort for alleged bank fraud.

The trial is the first courtroom test for Mueller, who indicted Manafort in October 2017 as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Still, the proceedings have drawn President Donald Trump's attention - and tweets - as he works to undermine the standing of the Mueller investigation in the public square.

Kevin Downing, an attorney with the defense team for Paul Manafort, leaves federal court Monday as the trial of the former Trump campaign chairman continues. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and provided much of the drama of the trial so far. Then, after his money in Ukraine dried up, they allege he defrauded banks by lying about his income on loan applications and concealing other financial information, such as mortgages.

Gates said he helped Manafort commit crimes in an effort to protect Manafort's finances. Gates was forced to admit embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and an extramarital affair.

Prosecutors said last week that they would wrap up their case against Manafort on Monday. Along the way, they've not only faced an aggressive defence team but also tongue lashings from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who presides over the case. The admittedly impatient judge has pushed the government to speed up its case.

The banker who sought the job in Trump's administration was Stephen Calk, chief executive officer of the Federal Savings Bank, which loaned $16 million to Manafort. But in fact, Brennan testified, Manafort was in default for a $5.7 million loan he had taken out for a Los Angeles property and had also stopped paying on a $6.5 million loan on a NY residence. On the forms, Manafort claimed more than $4 million income for his business in 2015, but other documents showed he made less than $400,000, Brennan testified.

Multiple witnesses have now accused Steve Calk, the CEO and chairman of The Federal Savings Bank, of ramming through Manafort's loan applications against the judgement of his senior staff and two other "credit committee" members who ultimately decide whether the bank signs off on a deal.

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"It closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close", said Brennan, who testified with immunity from prosecution.

Other bank officials saw "red flags" in Manafort's loan application and wanted to reject it, he said.

Calk also listed 19 potential ambassadorships, including the United Kingdom, France, Holy See and China.

In the exchange, Manafort asked Kushner for help in securing the position for Calk and received the response, "On it!" from the White House aide, according to the Bloomberg report.

The defense has not admitted a quid pro quo agreement between Calk and Manafort, though they have thrown TFSB under the bus, saying that it was the bank's responsibility to properly vet whether or not Manafort's finances should have qualified him for the loans to begin with.

The prosecution's final witness on Monday, a Treasury Department agent, testified that Manafort and his consulting companies did not disclose their foreign bank accounts as required by law.

Brennan said the Chicago-based bank lost at least $11.8 million because it had to write off the two loans, which he said were the two largest loans the bank had made at that time.

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