Here’s Why Paul Manafort Did Not Call A Single Witness

It's not about a presidential pardon.

paul manafort
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a hearing on May23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Paul Manafort’s attorneys rested his case at 11:53 a.m. on Tuesday without calling a single witness. Those following Robert Mueller’s Russia probe were flabbergasted, and many said that it was evidence that the former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential bid was hoping for a presidential pardon. But none of the veterans of white-collar trials who spoke to Vanity Fair seemed surprised at all.

“Not surprised.” said Renato Mariotti, a seasoned former Illinois prosecutor. “If you were conducting a [poll] on the number of witnesses Manafort would call, I would have picked ‘zero.’”

More than two dozen witnesses were called to testify against the longtime Republican operative over the course of the trial’s first 10 days. Manafort not taking the stand was most likely his best defense, Mariotti told Vanity Fair. 

“It’s not uncommon for the defense to rest without calling witnesses in a case like this one,” he said. “If the defense is facing overwhelming evidence and over 20 prosecution witnesses, calling one or two witnesses to make minor points can seem weaker than saying nothing at all.”

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