#ManafortTrial Thread - Update.
Def attorney Richard Westling told Judge Ellis they will not call forward any witnesses. Manafort opted to forgo his right to testify. For the first time since the trial began nearly two weeks ago, Manafort spoke.
(1/9)
Judge Ellis first asked Manafort if he had an opportunity to confer with his attorneys ahead of resting their case.
“I have, your honor,” Manafort said.
Ellis then asked him if he was satisfied with his attorney’s legal representation.
“I am, your honor,” he replied.
(2/9)
The judge then asked Manafort if he wished to testify on his own behalf.
“No, sir,” Manafort said.
Before the attorneys rested their case, Judge Ellis denied the defense attorneys motion to acquit Manafort of four of the 32 counts he faces.
(3/9)
That ruling was delivered after the courtroom was unsealed but before jurors were asked to return.
Westling argued the motion to acquit should be granted because Federal Savings Bank was aware of Manafort’s employment and income status at the time the loan was granted. (4/9)
“They structured the loan to accommodate any issues they might have found,” Westling said.
“They weren’t acting without the knowledge of his true status of affairs.”
Prosecutor Uzo Asonye countered saying both FSB employees Dennis Raico & James Brennan made it clear...
(5/9)
...that regardless of whether there was sufficient collateral for the loans, “if a borrower supplies fraudulent information to a bank, it’s [still] fraudulent information.”
(6/9)
The defense also argued that Steve Calk, as CEO of the bank, acted within his rights to lend Manafort the $16 million because effectively, the bank is under his ownership and it’s his call on whether the institution can take the risk.
(7/9)
“Calk is not the bank,” Asonye said. “He is a 67 percent shareholder. There were four other victims involved.”
And there is a difference, the prosecutor argued, between a “reasonable lender” and a “renegade lender.”
(8/9)
After this, the judge has called recess until 1:30PM.
When the jury returns, the defense will rest its case formally in front of them.
A charging conference will follow and closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
(9/9)

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More from @Brandi_Buchman

Oct 4, 2018
THREAD - Some observations I recorded while at the protest this afternoon:
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Oct 2, 2018
THREAD - It is time to head to @Scotus. On deck: Madison v. Alabama. Is it a violation of the Constitution to execute a man who can't remember his crime? Well into his 60s & w/dementia, Vernon Madison argues executing someone who doesn't understand why he is being punished...1/4
implicitly fails to serve the purposes of the death penalty. The execution would not deter future crimes nor would it punish him for his conduct. The state, Alabama, doubts his claims of incapacity, suggesting he knows when to decline certain meds etc. Also even if he doesn't...
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Sep 28, 2018
THREAD I suppose I need to state my belief on this for the record because it will save me time. Folks, I want to believe Kavanaugh wont be confirmed because even if you dont #BelieveHer, the man is not fit for the bench. #sorrynotsorry (Evidenced by his own behavior yesterday)
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I operate from doubt most of the time tho I am...
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Sep 27, 2018
THREAD - In October, I'll cover several arguments at @Scotus:
Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Fish and Wildlife Service, which challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designation of 1,544 acres of land in Louisiana as critical habit for the dusky gopher frog.
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Weyerhauser operates a logging business on the land and maintains the frog cannot live there without "radical change in land use."
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Then, I'll cover Madison v. Alabama, which is about a death penalty challenge brought by a man who has dementia and says he can no longer remember committing the crime.
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Sep 27, 2018
THREAD - Some reactions from Democratic Senators at a press conference this a.m. during the lunch break:
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Sen Patrick Leahy's, D-Vt., take on questioning from the Republican prosecutor:
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Sep 25, 2018
THREAD - A group of attorneys general filed a comment with Interior Department rejecting Secy Zinke's proposed rollback of protections in the #EndangeredSpeciesAct. You can read their letter here:
documentcloud.org/documents/4941…
@CourthouseNews
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AGs from the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania plus states of California, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia signed off.
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I recently covered the proposed rollback here: courthousenews.com/public-comment…
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