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Techno Fog @Techno_Fog
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Transcript: Defense closing arguments in the Paul Manafort trial.

Strong closing, putting into question the bank fraud and tax charges, the testimony of Rick Gates.. and the motives of the Special Counsel.

First main argument: If Manafort were undertaking this huge fraud conspiracy, why wasn't he secretive?
Starting on the bank fraud charges...

By the end of 2016, Manafort had a net worth of $21.3 million.

"So why does the gov't come and try to put witnesses on to say he didn't have any money?"

Why is there no evidence the loans supported his lifestyle?
The gov't claimed the bank relied upon a false 2016 profit and loss statement.

The defense points out the bank officer testified that the bank knew Manafort didn't have 2016 income because he was a volunteer on Trump's campaign.

A bank memo exhibit showed losses of $638K
The defense gets to the point of the Special Counsel:

"This is basically a group that has come along and looked at every financial angle, poured through the documents, and tried to find any place that something doesn't match up."

How concerned were the banks about the "fraud"?

"Nobody came forward and said, 'We're concerned about what we're seeing here,' not until the Special Counsel showed up."
In fact, Manafort's $9.5 million property loan was examined by regulators, and "the Office of Comptroller of the Currency did not cite the underlying problems with the loan."
Why were the bank fraud charges added to suggest "some elaborate fraud scheme"?

"To give you (the jury) a sense that everything is so overwhelming that there's only one conclusion."
As to the conspiracy charges:

If Manafort conspired to commit bank fraud with Rick Gates... then why wasn't Gates required "to plead guilty to any bank fraud charges"?
There was some issue as to whether Manafort disclosed material facts to the banks.

They give two examples of a bank official thanking Manafort for clearing up the status of the properties.
Another issue was whether Manafort disclosed a home (in NY, I believe) would be a residence or rental

Here we have evidence of the bank's knowledge that it is a rental, and that Manafort's primary residence was in Florida.
More on the Special Counsel:

"People do not get prosecuted by typical Justice Department prosecutors when what they have done is had some issue about whether their property is being rented or personally owned and it changes."

100% true
As to another big loan.. Was there fraud?

No fraud because the bank secured itself "by having collateral that was millions of dollars over the debt"
The Special Counsel called these "buddy loans," but the numbers don't add up.

The numbers were 60% loan to collateral value, and 70% loan to collateral value.

The bank made hundreds of thousands of dollars... Manafort was being charged 7.25% interest.
Now they start hitting Rick Gates.

"On the first question out of the box, he fell apart and showed himself to be the liar that he is."
I believe this is the moment Manafort's lawyer is citing to, where Gates showed himself to be a liar. (Thread on transcript of cross-examination)

Manafort's lawyer accuses Rick Gates, the Special Counsel's star witness, of filing false tax returns in the middle of the Special Counsel's investigation.
Discussion on how the Special Counsel prepped Gates over 20 times and how he was "flawless on direct."

"But on cross-examination he fell apart."

The Special Counsel made the deal with Gates "because they were so desperate to try to make the case."
Attacks on Gates are nice, but the tax returns are a huge issue.

They concede "there may be falsities on those returns." (No choice but to concede that fact.)

However... "That's an issue that could have been taken care of in an audit."
I won't get into the weeds of their tax arguments (classification of loans, shareholder distributions, etc.)

But this is interesting. An IRS Agent testified he on a chart prepped by the FBI to determine income.

Had he looked at the source documents? He "looked at some."
And then there's the issue of Manafort and Gates' meeting with the FBI in 2014.

How can there be a "grand concealment" when Manafort told Gates to "Tell [the FBI] everything, be open about this" in 2014?
How is there concealment if Manafort disclosed "the existence of the offshore accounts and their location, the banks that they were at, to the FBI" in 2014?
One more jab at Gates..

"He was orchestrating a multimillion dollar embezzlement scheme and he was trying to keep it outside of the purview of the accountants."

and then the closing request for the jury to find Manafort not guilty of all charges.
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