In the practice of law there are certain procedures during trial that signal to an experienced litigator a likely outcome. For example, when a witness takes the 5th, it seems obvious that the witness is worried about criminal exposure. In the case against Paul Manafort, the fact that he is not going to testify on his behalf signals one of two things. Either the Defense attorney believes the prosecution hasn’t met its burdeon of proof or the Defense attorney is worried that his witness’ testimony would hurt more than it would help. A jury often presumes a defendant is guilty if they don’t take the stand, so the choice not to testify is usually based on a very compelling reason.
Given the number of days of testimony, the number of documents introduced, and the expertise of Robert Mueller, it seems unlikely that Mueller failed to prove a prima-facie case. Thus it appears the decision not to have Manafort testify is a calculated decision based on fear that his testimony would do more harm than good.
Paul Manafort’s defense rested Tuesday without calling any witnesses. Let me repeat…the defense didn’t call ANY witnesses. If it were only Manafort, it might be presumed that the defense attorney was worried about potential crossexam of the prosecutor. However the decision not to call ANY witnesses is a signal that the Defense is afraid that calling witness will only make matters worse.
Because the Defense isn’t going to put on any evidence, the tax- and bank-fraud trial moves into its final stages.
Asked if he had decided whether he wanted to testify, Manafort answered in the affirmative.
“I have decided,” he told the judge. When Ellis then queried him if he wanted to testify, Manafort responded, “No, sir.”
Because Manafort appears to concede guilt, without pleading guilty or bargaining for a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, it seems that Manafort is planning on a pardon coming from Trump.