Saturday, 18 August, 2018

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

A courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates on the witness stand testifying at Paul Manafort’s trial Tuesday A courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates on the witness stand testifying at Paul Manafort’s trial Tuesday
| 10 August, 2018, 10:47

The remaining witnesses include bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts, and they're expected to dive into the gritty details of the prosecution's case on bank and mortgage fraud. They also need to prove he did so with intent and not by mistake.

From the witness stand, Morgan Magionos, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant, read into the record email messages in which Manafort directed wire transfers from Cypriot bank accounts that he said belonged to him. Trump often boasts that he hires "the best people", and the sixth day of the trial showcased two people who worked for him, one who allegedly tried to use his influence in Trump's circle to boost someone he had a sketchy financial relationship with, and another who admitted under oath that he may have stolen money from Trump's inaugural committee.

The topic came up as Kevin Downing, Manafort's defense attorney, hammered away at Gates' admitted habit of filing doctored expense reports in an attempt to paint Gates as self-motivated and untrustworthy. Prosecutors agreed to drop a wide variety of additional charges against Gates in exchange for his guilty pleas and cooperation against Manafort.

But that changed Tuesday during a full day of testimony by Rick Gates, the prosecution's star witness and another former member of the campaign.

On some accounts, the beneficial owners were listed as either Manafort, Gates or his Ukrainian translator Konstantin Kilimnik, she said.

In a private conference on Monday, as former Manafort business partner-turned-government witness Richard Gates testified, prosecutor Greg Andres complained that Judge Ellis had blocked him from asking essential questions.

When the jury is dismissed to deliberate, they will decide whether it was Manafort, Gates or both. Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics and evidence at New York University, said the judge was right to make a corrective statement to the jurors. His defence team is seeking to pin the blame on Gates, who they say was responsible for day-to-day operations of the business.

He also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years. Plus, why is Judge T.S. Ellis III getting so involved in the trial?

Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been closely watched by a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to fume publicly about Mueller's investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin.


Laporta ... said she knew what she did was "not appropriate", adding that "you can't pick and choose what's a loan and what's income".

The government said it expects to wrap up its case by the end of the week.

Lisa Kern Griffin, who teaches law at Duke University, said many judges are harsher on the government, fearing that being seen favoring a prosecution could be the basis for a defendant's appeal.

The terms of Manafort's loan also allowed him to withdraw cash from the bank, and Miceli testified that was not allowed for loans against investment properties.

In an email shown to the jury, Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, wrote to Gates on November 24, 2016, "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of Army".

Gates finished his testimony Wednesday after admitting that his secret life of cheating on his wife was more extensive than he had indicated earlier.

Gates testified that he engaged in an extensive criminal conspiracy with Manafort that lasted seven years and included lying to the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying taxes and providing false documents to banks to obtains millions of dollars in loans.

"I've made many mistakes over many years, and I regret them", Gates said. "I don't think so", Seferian said.

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