Manafort Trial Defense Chips Away at Credibility of Star Witness Gates

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

Joshua Roberts Reuters In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

Napolitano said T.S. Ellis III has shown an "extraordinary bias" against the government, which means he believes the judge has a bias against special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors.

"It was highly inappropriate to raise the other affairs, and the judge's response was very generous", said Gene Rossi, a former prosecutor who has been watching the trial.

An IRS agent, Michael Welch, testified that Manafort didn't report at least $16 million on his tax returns between 2010 and 2014.

"I am here to tell the truth and to take responsibility for my actions. I thought he was needlessly evasive and argumentative", said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney in MI who has been watching the trial and said she observed jurors reacting with negative body language as he testified.

On Thursday, they also asked Ellis to seal portions of a bench conversation that came during the testimony of Gates, Manafort's longtime deputy, because "substantive evidence" in an ongoing investigation was discussed.

The exchange concluded Gates' appearance in the Manafort trial. "I was probably wrong in that", Ellis said to kick off the trial proceedings Thursday morning.

Prosecutors say Manafort misrepresented his debts to Citizens Bank when securing the $3.4 million mortgage, and ultimately obtained the mortgage by attesting that the other property had no mortgages.

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In one instance, in August 2016, the same month Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign, he emailed Laporta and asked her to alter a profit-and-loss-statement for his company, the AP reported.

The prosecution has put forward almost 20 witnesses - including Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates - and a trove of documentary evidence as they've sought to prove Manafort defrauded banks and concealed millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts from the IRS.

Downing then asked about what he called "the secret life of Rick Gates", inquiring whether Gates kept an apartment in London and if he engaged in an extramarital relationship there.

More broadly, this trial is a direct result of the special counsel's investigation into the Trump's campaign contacts with Russian Federation.

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

In several instances, Manafort signed documents to open accounts, and a copy of his passport was found in the files, she said. Maybe I made a mistake.

"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort".

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He showed jurors how the Federal Bureau of Investigation had painstakingly traced wire transfers from foreign bank accounts to retailers in the U.S. who sold Manafort expensive goods - including the custom men's clothier Alan Couture, where Manafort bought jackets made of ostrich and python skin that each cost five figures.

Defence lawyers for Paul Manafort made a last-ditch attempt on Wednesday to torpedo the key witness at his trial by asking whether he failed to disclose four extramarital affairs.

In another email, Manafort told Dr. K's law firm to make five wire transfers to pay for thousands of dollars worth of clothing from Alan Couture.

The judge's comments come after prosecutors said in a written filing that Ellis had authorized Welch to watch the trial and the reprimand could have prejudiced the jury. But Gates' testimony also revealed he was a deeply disreputable co-conspirator as Manafort's underling.

Greg Andres, an attorney with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, said the prosecution is running ahead of schedule. But prosecutors dropped charges against Gates after the former business partner took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too.

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