Manafort’s tax crime defense, explained

Former campaign chair manager for President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, is currently facing criminal charges. The charges, which include tax evasion, can come with serious criminal penalties. These penalties can include very high monetary fines and potential imprisonment. In this case, Mr. Manafort faces a sentence of lifetime imprisonment.

With so much at risk, it may come as a surprise that Mr. Manafort’s defense chose to rest without calling witnesses.

Why not call witnesses in a tax crime case? The choice is one that will be discussed by legal counsel for each case and the best answer will vary depending on the facts of each situation. In this case, the choice was based on two beliefs:

  • Government failed to prove its case. Our justice system is based on the belief that anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. This holds true for all criminal charges, including tax crimes. In this case, Mr. Manafort argues the government failed to establish he committed the alleged crimes. The jury must find the government provided evidence that Mr. Manafort committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” to return a guilty verdict.
  • Risk too great. If the defense chose to call witnesses, the prosecution could shift the focus of the trial. This would likely include an attack on Mr. Manafort’s credibility. Instead, the defensive team felt it best to focus on the poor credibility of one of the prosecution’s key witnesses. Mr. Manafort’s team argues the focus is currently on the lack of credibility of the witness used by the government, putting Mr. Manafort at an advantage as the jury goes into deliberations.

Whether or not this strategy will prove effective is yet to be seen. The jury took a full day to deliberate Thursday and entered its second day of deliberation today, Friday, August 17, 2018.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • ABA | American Bar Association
  • AV Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest level of Professional Excellence | 2018
  • Virginia State Bar | 1938
  • Super lawyer | 2018
  • DC Bar
  • American Bar Academy of Attorney - CPAs | The power of the dual view
Email Our Team

Contact Us to Get Started Today

Located in the Washington, D.C area, we serve clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia, as well as across the country and overseas. For a free initial consultation, call 202-381-1261 or complete our brief online form.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Six Convenient Office Locations in and around the DC Metropolitan Area

Washington, D.C.
1629 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006

Phone: 202-618-1873
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Columbia Office
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 300
Columbia, MD 21044

Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Annapolis Office
888 Bestgate Road
Suite 400
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Fairfax Office
8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Suite 600
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: 703-621-7169
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Rockville Office
199 E. Montgomery Avenue
Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: 240-599-5009
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Baltimore Office
400 East Pratt Street
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 443-743-3381
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions