The lawyer for Paul Manafort on Wednesday blasted the office of special counsel Robert Mueller for “selective prosecution” of the former Trump campaign chairman.
In closing arguments at Manafort’s tax evasion and bank fraud trial in Alexandria, Va., defense lawyer Richard Westling told jurors the banks never reported the alleged fraud charges lodged against his client “until the special counsel showed up and started asking questions,” The Washington Times reported.
“None of the banks involved reported Manafort’s activities as suspicious,” he said.
Instead, Westling accused prosecutors working for Mueller of “selectively pulling” Manafort’s records to “concoct a narrative.”
“Clearly their goal … was to stack up the counts,” he said, the Washington Times reported.
Westling argued that documents and emails may show numerical errors or sloppy bookkeeping — but no overt fraud, telling jurors people typically “don’t get prosecuted by Department of Justice prosecutors.”
“If this were fraud, we would have courtrooms across the county filed with bank fraud cases,” he said.
Earlier, prosecutor Greg Andres told jurors the government’s case boils down to “Mr. Manafort and his lies.”
After the closing arguments were finished, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis began his instructions to jurors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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