Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Drama grips court as Manafort lawyers accuse Rick Gates of multiple affairs

Drama grips court as Manafort lawyers accuse Rick Gates of multiple affairs

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III regrets how he's treated special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors throughout the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. 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.

It's unclear whether Ellis was only apologizing for the mixup with the IRS agent.

"I'm here to tell the truth". "I did, to one count, your honour", he said.

Prosecutors in Paul Manafort's trial say the judge incorrectly admonished them in front of the jury and they want him to correct the error.

She says Manafort had told the bank that one of the properties would be used as a second residence, but she found it listed as a rental on a real estate website.

Gates said that Manafort asked him to meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen involved in paying him millions of dollars to find out if one of the shell companies used to pay him was a "clean entity".

Gates said he falsely labeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in income as loans to reduce Manafort's tax liability.

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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.

On Thursday, a series of bank employees told jurors about discrepancies and outright falsehoods contained on Manafort's applications for millions of dollars in loans.

Mr Manafort and Mr Gates were the first people indicted in Mr Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Gates, 46, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government as it prosecutes Manafort for allegedly evading USA taxes on tens of millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did together in Ukraine from 2006 to 2014.

"This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?" asked Downing.

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

Gates' testimony is among the most important of the trial - pitting the longtime right-hand man against his boss face-to-face for the first time publicly since Gates flipped in February and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises".

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Melinda James, a Citizens Bank mortgage loan assistant, is testifying in the financial fraud trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman. And on Wednesday, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant said Manafort hid more than 30 offshore accounts in three types of currencies from the IRS. Maybe I made a mistake. "It has nothing to do with your consideration in this case", he said, adding: "This robe doesn't make me anything other than human".

According to reports from the courtroom, Ellis has repeatedly clashed with prosecutors during the trial and refused to allow them to present some evidence.

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye asked if Manafort would have qualified for the loan if he had known DMP's profit for that year was in fact $400,000.

The prosecution produced an undated email exchange between Mr Manafort and Mr Gates which outlines the amount of tax the campaign chief might have to pay. Did Gates, Andres asked, have any doubt that the special counsel would "rip up your plea agreement" if he lied on the stand?

Gates admitted to cheating on his wife about 10 years ago, but denied using company money to fund his affair, even as Downing sarcastically noted the apartment Gates kept in the United Kingdom: "A flat?"

Rick Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents.

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