It’s a move that has both New York and Washington D.C. buzzing. The defense team for Paul Manafort, after listening to federal prosecutors lay out their case against Mr. Manafort for reported banking and tax discrepancies dating back more than ten years, gave the court a collective shrug and moved to have the trial go straight to closing arguments without bothering to call a single defense witness. Though a potentially risky move, it is also a sign the defense believes federal prosecutors fell far short of presenting a case beyond a reasonable doubt – a form of laughing in the prosecution’s face. If the jury then returns a verdict of not guilty, it will be a serious embarrassment for the Mueller investigation which was clearly pinning its hopes on getting Manafort to provide something, anything, that Mueller could use to go after President Trump.
Via ABC News:
Manafort attorneys opt to skip defense, proceed to closing arguments
“The defense rests,” Manafort’s lead attorney Kevin Downing said in court on Tuesday.
Government prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office rested their case on Monday, so without a defense, the jury is expected to begin deliberations following closing arguments.
Rumors are also swirling that should the jury come back with a verdict of not guilty the Manafort team will move quickly to file a multitude of complaints against federal authorities, including Robert Mueller himself, over a number of alleged civil rights abuses. Such a move would certainly add significant fuel to the ongoing concerns that the entirety of the Mueller investigation has been a highly corrupt Deep State operation intended to damage or even overthrow, a duly elected President of the United States.