Friday, 17 August, 2018

Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud Six bombshells from Rick Gates' testimony in the Paul Manafort trial
Deanna Wagner | 09 August, 2018, 08:28

He said if Ellis feels that negatively about the prosecution, then he should keep those feelings to himself or he shouldn't be on the case. However, the Manafort case - as President Donald Trump has been quick to point out - focuses on Manafort's business dealings and has no direct connection to Manafort's work with 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.

"I've acknowledged there was a period where I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married.

Asked if he got any personal benefit from Mr Manafort's falsified loan applications, Gates responded: "No, I did not".

Cindy Laporta testified Friday in the government's case against the former Trump campaign chairman, saying she went along with the scam because she was anxious Manafort and his right-hand-man Rick Gates would sue.

Greg Andres, a prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team, somewhat softened the blows Manafort's attorney had inflicted during his cross examination. Gates testified that he had an extramarital affair a decade ago, and also that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort. Gates also had his name removed from some of the legal documents.

Downing spent several hours on Tuesday firing questions at Gates to attack his credibility as a witness, bringing up lies, an extramarital affair in London he used the firm's expenses to pay for and money he embezzled from Manafort.

But when Downing tried to question Gates on Tuesday about what the special counsel team had asked him about the Trump campaign, Andres objected.

Gates said under questioning Wednesday 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.

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

NASA spacecraft set to "touch" the sun launches this Saturday
The probe will be the first spacecraft to fly into the low solar corona-the aura of plasma that surrounds our closest star. Likewise, scientists hope the probe's small-scale, short-term analysis will improve space weather prediction models.

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade United States taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, said that in Downing's remaining hour of cross-examination on Wednesday, he needs to keep painting Gates as an unreliable person who can not be trusted.

Gates, Manafort's longtime right-hand man, pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos walked jurors through her special counsel-ordained investigation that revealed how Manafort purchased luxury goods back in the US through foreign bank accounts. This was a way to decrease Manafort's taxable income, added Gates, who did not report the money to Manafort's book-keeper or accountants. That includes even using his position as Trump campaign chairman to sway a banker for a few more million dollars, according to court filings and previous testimony.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has made headlines in recent days for his clashes with the prosecutors, including pressing them on the speed and merits of the prosecution and suggesting one prosecutor was so discouraged he was crying in the courtroom. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises".

"I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said in response to a question from Downing about his trustworthiness.

Manafort, the high-powered political consultant, is facing 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty.

Gates described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents at Manafort's behest as his former boss became concerned he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up.

An FBI forensic accountant is telling the jury in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial how she traced millions of dollars of payments for mortgages, home improvements and expensive cars, rugs and clothes back to his hidden foreign bank accounts.