Prosecutors laid out the most damning interpretation of the evidence against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Wednesday, beginning their closing arguments by framing the case around “Mr. Manafort’s lies.”
Greg Andres, a prosecutor with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, repeated the word “lie” more than a dozen times at the outset of his closing argument.
“Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it and he lied to get more money when he didn’t,” Andres told the jury.
Prosecutors are expected to present a two-hour case to the jury summarizing the evidence they brought against him and urging them to convict Manafort on 18 criminal counts in their tax- and bank-fraud case, the most high-profile and crucial moment yet for Mueller’s team.
Manafort’s defense team will get an opportunity to present their own version of the case — in which they are expected to argue the prosecution failed to present evidence to convict Manafort beyond a reasonable doubt.
Andres began his argument by summarizing the prosecution’s case: Manafort lied to his bookkeeper, to his tax preparers and to the IRS. The longtime lobbyist filed false tax returns in five straight years, Andres said, and failed to pay taxes on nearly $15 million income.
“You don’t need to be a tax expert to understand that,” Andres said.
“He is not above the law,” Andres added.
After closing arguments, Judge T.S. Ellis — whose routine interjections have irked prosecutors throughout the trial — is expected to deliver lengthy instructions to the jury, which could begin deliberations as early as Wednesday afternoon.