Defense Calls No Witnesses, Rests Cast in Manafort Trial

On Monday the state rested their case against Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, after two weeks of testimony.

On Tuesday the defense rested, calling no witnesses, CNN reported, after Manafort, speaking for the first time, said he would not be taking the stand.

“Manafort told Judge T.S. Ellis that he would not testify during the brief questioning at the podium before the jury was brought in the room.”

Judge Ellis responded, telling Manafort that it was his “absolute” right to testify or not.

Judge Ellis also denied the defense’s “formal” request for an acquittal after the prosecution rested their case yesterday in a move that is typically seen as procedural in cases like this.

The Washington Post — explains the courtroom was sealed for two hours before being reopened without an explanation for the seal. Closing arguments are set to start on Wednesday morning, Judge Ellis has been open to giving the lawyers two-hours to present their closing arguments, but has asked them to consider shortening the arguments to, “an hour and a half.” He told lawyers on both sides, “It seems a little excessive.” After the jury his the defense formally rest their case they will be sent home after which the lawyers from both sides will agree on the jury instructions. 

For What it’s Worth to those wondering why a defense team would rest wihout mounting a defense, twitter users such as @Popehat offer different theories or reasons to why that might be the case. 

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