AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Prosecutors thought they could wrap up today in the trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But things did not go as expected. Manafort is facing 18 counts of tax and bank fraud in federal court in Virginia. NPR Justice correspondent Ryan Lucas has been covering this trial all week. And he joins me now from near the courthouse in Alexandria, Va., for the latest update. Hey, Ryan.
RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hi there.
CHANG: So at this time yesterday, we thought the prosecution would rest its case by now, which did not happen. Why not?
LUCAS: Well, it was a weird morning here in Alexandria, frankly. There were a number of bench conferences - so discussions between the judge and lawyers for both sides. The public can't hear what's being discussed because they pipe white noise into the room during these discussions. And this happened a number of times this morning.
There were a series of breaks and conferences. And then the judge finally called the jury in after about 90 minutes, 90 minutes late, issued a warning of sorts to them. He reminded the jury not to discuss the case amongst themselves or with anyone at all, told them to keep an open mind. And then we broke for lunch.
So there were no witnesses this morning, which means the government was not able to proceed with more of its case. There was another delay in the afternoon before we began the afternoon session. We still don't have an explanation for what's happened, what the reason was, not precisely clear. Bottom line is the delay pushes the government's case into next week.
CHANG: Very mysterious. OK. So once things did finally get underway, what did we hear today?
LUCAS: Well, we heard from a former bank executive at a - at Federal Savings Bank, man by the name of Dennis Raico. He was testifying under an immunity deal. And he talked about $16 million in loans that the bank provided to Manafort in late 2016 and early 2017. And he said they were pushed through by the bank's chairman, Steve Calk.
And it was unusual, Raico said, for Calk to be so involved in approving loans. That made Raico very uncomfortable, that Calk was so involved. And he said that Calk asked him to call Paul Manafort days after Trump's election win to see if Calk was up for secretary of the Treasury or secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Now, the jury has already seen evidence that Manafort asked about a possible job for Calk as secretary of the Army. The bottom line here is that prosecutors say Calk pushed through the loan because he wanted a job in the Trump administration. Now, the defense effort was - tried to present the loans as aboveboard because they say that there was adequate collateral to secure them.
CHANG: OK. So when the prosecution does finish its case, Manafort's attorneys will have a chance to present their evidence. Do you expect them to call any witnesses of their own?
LUCAS: Well, the big question is whether Manafort himself will testify. We don't expect Manafort to do so. Beyond that, we don't know at this point. The defense doesn't have to provide that information until after the government rests its case.
The bulk of the defense's case at this point - of its argument appears to largely rest on its cross-examination of Rick Gates. That's Manafort's former business partner. And they put Gates through a pretty brutal cross-examination earlier this week. And part of why Gates was likely in the middle of the trial is so that the jury hears from other witnesses, sees other evidence before they retire to make their decision.
CHANG: Now, this judge has made a point of moving as efficiently, as quickly as possible through this whole trial. But business did not go as quickly as expected today. Do you think this trial is on track to conclude sometime next week?
LUCAS: Yes. The judge actually said today that he still expects for this to be wrapped up by sometime next week. Prosecutors said they have another couple of witnesses this afternoon, a couple more maybe next week when the trial reconvenes Monday afternoon. And then we'll have closing arguments and jury instructions.
CHANG: All right. That's NPR's Ryan Lucas from outside the courthouse in Alexandria, Va. Thank you, Ryan.
LUCAS: Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.