Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Judge Nap Calls Out Manafort Judge: Stop Making This About You

Judge Nap Calls Out Manafort Judge: Stop Making This About You

The fraud trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort enters its eighth day as prosecutors say they plan on resting their case by the end of Friday. He admitted to committing fraud on a massive scale and extorting money from Manafort, along with assisting his former boss in filing false tax returns and bank fraud.

Rick Gates, Manafort's long-time deputy, acknowledged having made "many mistakes over many years" but insisted he was telling the court the truth about the alleged financial misdeeds of his former boss.

Rick Gates said that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work. "I'm not very patient, so don't try my patience", Ellis said.

While the defense's strategy seems focused destroying Gates' trustworthiness in the eyes of the jury, prosecutors have sought to broaden their case so it's not completely reliant on him. On some accounts, the beneficial owners were listed as either Manafort, Gates or his Ukrainian translator Konstantin Kilimnik, she said.

Gates added that Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads-up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the US government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Melinda James, a mortgage loan assistant at Citizens Bank, told jurors how Manafort obtained a $3.4 million cash-out refinance in 2016 on a property he owned in Lower Manhattan.

Gates, under questioning by prosecutor Greg Andres, admitted that he padded his expense accounts with phony charges without Manafort's knowledge, siphoning "several hundred thousand" dollars from the secret accounts.

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Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

But Downing wasn't able to re-ask Gates about four extramarital affairs.

Gates pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February and agreed to cooperate with the government. "Mr. Manafort had the same path".

Manafort, 69, a veteran Republican political operative, was Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016, when he was forced to step down amid questions about his work for Ukraine's former pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych. "I already admitted on the record that I took unauthorised funds from Mr Manafort".

A clothier said he sold Manafort more than $900,000 in suits.

For this Manafort was paid US$4million a year, in quarterly payments of US$1million, Gates recalled, though at some point the currency switched from U.S. dollars to Euros.

Ellis has repeatedly tussled with prosecutors, interrupting them and pressuring them to hurry through their case. But Ellis told jurors he went overboard when he erupted on prosecutors Wednesday for allowing an expert witness to remain in the courtroom during the trial.

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In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, saying the two had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

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.

Laporta also testified that she received questionable financial statements from Gates or Manafort.

In the six days since the trial began, the jury has heard from 15 witnesses including two of Manafort's former accountants and his former bookkeeper.

But on Wednesday, Downing suggested that Gates had withheld the extent of his philandering from prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign.

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