The former Trump campaign chairman's trial was delayed for hours Friday without explanation after the judge huddled with his bailiff and attorneys for both sides. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III did not acknowledge the delay. But after calling the recess, he left the courtroom, heading toward the jury room. He also repeatedly reminded the jury not to discuss the case at all. That included telling them not even to comment on the attire of any witnesses.
Manafort's defense is not required to say whether they will call any witnesses until after the government rests. His attorneys have tried to undermine the evidence against him by blaming any crimes on his longtime deputy, Rick Gates.
__ 5:55 p.m. Paul Manafort paid for luxury season tickets to the New York Yankees using an offshore bank account prosecutors say he concealed from the IRS. That's according to testimony from a Yankees employee during financial fraud trial of Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump.
Irfan Kirimca, a senior director of ticket operations, says Manafort paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the tickets from the offshore account. Kirimca also says Yankees business records contradict a representation Manafort made to a bank while he was trying to obtain a loan. Manafort had provided a letter saying he lent his American Express card to his longtime deputy, Rick Gates, so Gates could buy about $300,000 in season tickets.
But Kirimca says the Yankees have no record of Gates ever making such a purchase. __ 5:45 p.m. A prosecutor in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial is exchanging a lighthearted moment with a federal judge who has repeatedly tongue-lashed him throughout the former Trump campaign chairman's case.
Prosecutor Greg Andres says he forgot to admit a document into evidence during a witness' testimony, prompting U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III to retort, "Confession is good for the soul." Andres didn't miss a beat, saying his soul should be in "pretty good shape" after the trial.
The exchange was greeted by laughter in the gallery. Ellis has prodded the prosecution through the trial to cut down on their voluminous evidence and streamline witness testimony. He even admonished them for their facial expressions. He walked back one comment on Thursday.
Manafort faces charges of tax evasion and bank fraud. __ 4 p.m. A New York banking executive is testifying that the chairman of his bank overruled his own bank's president in order to approve a $9.5 million loan to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Federal Savings Bank Senior Vice President Dennis Raico said Friday during Manafort's financial fraud trial that the bank's chairman, Stephen Calk, green-lighted the loan. The loan was aimed for a Manafort property in Bridgehampton, New York, but the bank's president, Javier Ubarri, had torpedoed the loan application, questioning whether Manafort had enough income to pay it back.
Raico says the conversation occurred in late October 2016. That was two months after Calk had openly talked of his hope to gain a cabinet post if Manafort's then-boss, Donald Trump, won the presidency.
__ 3:10 p.m. Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial has resumed with the testimony of a bank executive who says he was pressured for political reasons to give the former Trump campaign chairman more than $16 million in loans.
The trial of the former Trump campaign chairman had been delayed for several hours Friday, and the judge offered no explanation for the recess ahead of banker Dennis Raico's testimony. Raico, who testified under an immunity agreement, is detailing for jurors how he grew uncomfortable by pressure from Federal Savings Bank chairman Stephen Calk to approve the loans. Prosecutors have said that Calk pushed through the loans for Manafort because he wanted a job in the Trump administration.
Raico told jurors that Calk specifically referenced being a candidate for secretary of the Treasury or Housing and Urban Development. Manafort is being tried on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud. __
10:50 a.m. The judge in Paul Manafort's trial has called a recess without explanation. U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis lll huddled with attorneys from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office and Manafort's defense lawyers, as well as court security officers, for more than 20 minutes before calling the recess. The judge then exited the courtroom toward the jury room.
The recess comes as prosecutors are preparing to finish their case Friday. Manafort faces charges of bank fraud and tax evasion.
Prosecutors for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are asking the judge overseeing the fraud trial of Paul Manafort to correct an earlier statement.
On Thursday, prosecutors questioned a loan officer for Citizen's Bank of New York, asking about Manafort's 2016 loan application that the bank rejected. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III interjected: "You might want to spend time on a loan that was granted."
Early Friday, prosecutors said Ellis' crack "misrepresents the law" regarding bank conspiracy and "is likely to confuse the jury."
Ellis has yet to comment on the motion.
A day earlier, the judge acknowledged that he likely erred when he angrily confronted them a day earlier.
Prosecutors in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial say they expect to rest their case on Friday.
On Thursday, prosecutors returned to the nuts and bolts of their case against the former Trump campaign chairman as they sought to show he obtained millions of dollars in bank loans under false pretenses.
Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller also got a rare, and narrow, acknowledgment from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Virginia, that he likely erred when he angrily confronted them over whether he had allowed a witness to watch the trial.
Thursday's testimony was devoid of some of the drama of recent days, when star witness Rick Gates was confronted about embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and was forced to admit to an extramarital affair.