Attorneys for Paul Manafort rested their case on Tuesday without calling any witnesses, including the former Trump campaign chairman himself, who told the judge he did not want to testify in his own defense against bank and tax fraud charges.
Manafort told Judge T.S. Ellis that he would not testify during a brief questioning at the podium before the jury was brought in the room.
The decision by Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, not to call witnesses clears the way for the jury to hear closing arguments in the trial, now in its third week.
There's no indication from prosecutors whether the Trump transition team entertained Manafort's suggestion, or that Kushner was aware of any financial connection between Manafort and Calk.
Still, the proceedings have drawn President Donald Trump's attention - and prompted tweets - as the president has worked to undermine the standing of the Mueller investigation in the public square. Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors and provided much of the drama of the trial so far.
Prosecutors also Monday called an executive from Federal Savings Bank to testify about loans Manafort received in 2016 and 2017.
Gates testified that he helped Manafort commit crimes in an effort to lower his tax bill and fund his lavish lifestyle.
The defense has not admitted a quid pro quo agreement between Calk and Manafort, though they have thrown TFSB under the bus, saying that it was the bank's responsibility to properly vet whether or not Manafort's finances should have qualified him for the loans to begin with. Gates was also forced to admit embezzling a fortune from Manafort and having an extramarital affair.
Bloomberg News reports that an email exchange occurred in late November 2016, following Trump's election victory, almost two years before Stephen Calk, chief executive officer of the Federal Savings Bank, would become a central figure in the government's case against Manafort. Along the way, they've not only faced an aggressive defense team but tongue-lashings from the judge, who pushed the government to speed up its case.
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"It closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close", bank employee James Brennan said.
Mr Brennan said the Chicago bank lost $11.8m because it had to write-off a significant portion of two loans it made to Mr Manafort. Testimony last week indicated Calk was seeking a position within the Trump administration.
The bank did not make money on the loans, Brennan said.
Earlier trial documents had showed that Manafort spoke about Calk to Rick Gates, his longtime deputy who stayed with the Trump campaign and transition after Manafort's August 2016 resignation.
While the contents of the motion are unknown, the development comes after an unexplained delay in the trial and unusually detailed instructions by Ellis to the jurors on Friday, in which he pressed them not to talk to anyone about the case.
Manafort is charged with bank fraud, conspiracy, preparing false tax returns and failing to disclose foreign income.
Judge TS Ellis said he would talk to Manafort on Tuesday about whether he wanted to take the stand, something that legal experts say is highly unlikely.
The prosecution also recalled a Treasury Department agent - over the objections of Manafort's defence team - to testify that two of his companies hadn't filed any reports disclosing the foreign bank accounts as required by federal law.