He was clearly a reluctant prosecution witness. No, make that a very reluctant and furious witness.
WaPo's David Weigel reports that "Prosecutors had to show him his own grand jury testimony, twice, to get Paul to confirm that Kesari -- whose e-mails revealed a six-month deal to pay Sorenson through a pass-through company -- had effectively been an assistant to Benton.
"I'm not positive of the title," said Paul. "There were a lot of people working for the campaign... everyone reported to [campaign manager] John Tate and Jesse."
Dr. Paul hit back at the prosecutors during cross-examination. Weigel again:
Former Texas congressman Ron Paul, who took the stand Wednesday in the trial of two aides to his 2012 presidential campaign, said in court he and his family had been "victimized" by the years-long probe.
As his former campaign chairman Jesse Benton and former deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari looked on, Paul lambasted the government and media for an investigation that has stretched over three years, and said he was offended to see his family dragged into a seemingly endless scandal.
"I feel victimized a whole lot," said an emotional Paul, under cross-examination by Kesari's attorney. "The real victimization here is happening to me and my family. It's been a heavy burden. I didn't even know it was legal to make someone testify against a family member!"...
Paul saved his ire for the prosecution itself. He recounted angrily how he'd "read in the paper" that he was about to testify against his family. He fully supported Benton, he said, and hated to see his daughter put on a witness stand.
"As far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed," said Paul. "I feel like my daughter has been victimized, when she's getting treatment for cancer and she has to come up here."
Paul also reiterated his initial reaction to the indictment, angrily recounting that it was discussed as a possibility for months but only was released the day before the first 2016 Republican presidential debate, "where my son Rand had been invited," forcing him to answer awkward questions.
"I consider that more than a coincidence," Paul said. "I consider it an injustice."Grant Rodgers at the Des Moines Register reports:
Paul appeared unhappy to be testifying against the two, particularly because Benton is married to his granddaughter. During cross-examination from Benton's attorney, Paul said he still stands by grandson-in-law, who chaired his 2012 campaign.
"As far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed," he said about his feelings toward Benton...
Paul left the courthouse without speaking to reporters. But he told the jurors that he had no knowledge of his campaign making payments to Sorenson. He said he'd still support Benton, and that he doesn't currently feel "victimized" by his former staffers.
"Maybe that attitude will change, but right now I don't feel victimized," he said. "...I'm not testifying for the defense, I'm testifying to the prosecution. And that's been a heavy burden for my family."-RW