The onetime campaign chairman for President Trump is back in an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom where he faces charges of bank fraud and tax evasion.
The Washington Post — Day Eight started with Judge T.S. Ellis who has clashed with prosecutors since the trial began, offering a rare apology for one such clash that happened on Wednesday.
Testifying for the government on Wednesday was Melinda James a bank loan assistant from Citizens Bank, Peggy Miceli Vice President of Citizens Bank, Taryn Rodriguez, another loan assistant for Citizens Bank, Gary Seferian, a vice president with Banc of California, and Darrin Evenson a career military veteran former Navy Seal, who now runs, “customer experience,” at Airbnb, which is a website for finding and listing vacation rental properties.
James of Citizens bank was up first, she testified that Manafort applied for loan in the amount of $3.4 million. Documents show that Manafort, not Rick Gates, did in fact sign documents attesting that the information that had been provided to obtain the loan was truthful and accurate. James said in order to obtain this loan, Manafort refinanced a property that he claimed was a second home, even though when James went to verify property information for the loan process she found the property for rent. Manafort told the bank it was a “second home,” stating in an email that his daughter and son-in-law lived there. Defense attorney Jay Nanavati cross-examined James and once again cast the blame on former business partner Rick Gates, who admitted on the stand that he had in fact embezzled money from Manafort and others. Gates had been arrested along with Manafort back in October of 2017, but Gates took a plea deal and is cooperating with prosecutors.
Evenson was up next, he told jurors that one property Manafort used to obtain a loan, a condo in SoHo, was listed on his companies website from January 2015-April 2016, telling the court, the property was listed for 1,125 nights in a row, the maxed allowed. Evenson said in January of 2015, a pair of guests stayed in the SoHo loft at the cost $1,971 for four nights, another five guests paid $16,325. Guests were also renting the property during the month of February when Manafort was negotiating a loan.
Miceli, the Vice President for Citizens bank was up next who confirmed earlier testimony from loan assistant Melinda James. She told jurors that a bank always wants truthfully information, everything asked can have an impact on the loan terms, from higher interest rates, denials, and even the loan amount.
Rodriguez testified that Manafort had applied for a construction loan on a Union Street property in Brooklyn, for $5.5 million, but he was turned down. She confirmed earlier testimony from both James and Miceli, but added she did her own digging beyond just using already established application answers and found that Manafort had a loan already against the Union Street property for $1 million dollars that Manafort failed to disclose.
During Rick Gates testimony under cross-examination by defense attorney Kevin Downing, a question was asked, “And were you interviewed on several occasions about your time at the Trump campaign?” Prosecutors objected to the question conferred with defense and the Judge at the bench, on Thursday, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office asked Judge Ellis to seal that portion of the court record stating, “Disclosing the identified transcript portions would reveal substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing investigation.” The government concluded that the information given during the sidebar conference be kept confidential until, “relevant aspect of the investigation is revealed publicly, if that were to occur.” Judge Ellis agreed and sealed that portion of the record.
The Washington Post — Day 9 Prosecutors are expected to rest their case on Friday. As always the link to the Post is a live blog of what’s happening during the trial.
Provided by The Washington Post linked live blog
Paul Manafort’s trial faced many delays on Friday.
It was around 9:45 a.m. when Judge Ellis called lawyers for both sides up to the bench, shortly after Judge Ellis took a ten-minute recess, followed by a longer sidebar with counsel. Judge Ellis also called up to the bench a court security officer. Before declaring another recess Judge Ellis told those present inside the courtroom, “You cannot look and see what’s on counsels’ tables, without their permission of course.”
After a fifteen minute recess that took longer than fifteen minutes, “one of the judge’s staff member’s, emerged to gather the board used during jury selection.”
It was around 11:07 a.m. when the jurors were finally called into the courtroom the Judge greeted them as normal, telling them he was going to take “roll,” but that they’d be breaking for lunch afterward. After he asked his normal questions if they had avoid talking about the case, if they avoided the press about the case, Judge Ellis stressed right before he called lunch recess, “It’s very important that you not discuss the case with anyone,” Judge Ellis noted to the jurors that they needed to keep an open mind, and that Manafort had a “presumption of innocence.”
Court was suppose to resume at 1:45, but was pushed back another hour, the Jude simply told prosecutors to call their next witness without an explanation for the delay.
The first witness for Friday Dennis Raico is an employee for Federal Savings Bank and he is a immunized witness.