Manafort’s Lawyers Get Personal As Rick Gates’s Testimony Wraps Up

Pauline Gross
August 9, 2018

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign accounts and spent years hiding millions of dollars to evade tax, his former deputy has claimed.

Ellis had erupted on the prosecutors during the testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch, saying he hadn't authorized Welch to watch the trial.

Ahead of that barrage, Gates implicated himself in a vast amount of criminal conduct on the stand, an apparent strategic decision by prosecutors as they hoped to take some of the steam out of the defense's questioning.

She said Manafort's passport was used to open many of them in us dollars, euros and British pounds.

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Melinda James, a mortgage loan assistant at Citizen's Bank, testified about a loan application from Manafort she helped process in late 2016 and early 2016.

Judge T.S. Ellis III asks the jurors before court begins each day whether they were able to follow his instructions and not discuss the case with anyone.

Some lawyers following the trial also criticized Ellis for not reacting more strongly to defense lawyer Kevin Downing's attempt to ask the government's star witness Rick Gates on Wednesday whether he had told prosecutors about his four extramarital affairs.

The case against Manafort has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

"I do somehow think he has gotten his back up personally about Greg Andres".

Mr Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied.

At times, Ellis has crossed lines, Litman said. Gates, a married father of four, had testified he used his firm's money to carry on the affair.

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"That's really beyond the pale for the judge", Litman said of the exchange, which took place during cross-examination, in front of the jury.

The judge in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial is joking about his efforts to speed up the prosecution's presentation of its case.

"I'm here. I'm trying to change", he said. "Right now, it seems clear that it's the prosecution that should be specifically requesting that instruction from the judge in advance, as Judge Ellis has had some unusually cutting words for the prosecutors in this case".

He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Mr Manafort's tax bill.

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gates told the court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he had met with government lawyer Greg Andres and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents 20 times and been told only to tell the truth, without any guarantee that he will be spared prison.

Gates on Monday admitted he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false bank statements. Gates also fabricated a forgiveness letter for what he said was already a fake loan between Manafort's consulting company and a Cypriot entity he controlled.

"After all these lies, and the fraud you have committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" Downing said that the question, which came one day after Gates admitted to having a single affair ten years ago, was relevant because it could prove that Gates had lied to investigators.

Downing's smear of Gates may not matter if jurors think the documentary and email evidence prosecutors presented lines up with Gates' testimony.

"Mr Downing, I've made many mistakes over many years", said Gates, before being cut off by the judge, who snapped: "This isn't the time for that".

"They may not like him".

Other reports by GizPress

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