Rick Gates' trustworthiness questioned in Paul Manafort trial
10 August, 2018, 10:43 | Author: Jason Torres
The judge's comments and detailed testimony about Manafort's loans came during the eighth day of his trial as prosecutors began presenting the bulk of their bank fraud case against him after spending days largely on tax-evasion allegations. Both moves improved the loan terms, James said.
Earlier Tuesday, Gates told the court that Manafort would frequently pay for clothing, landscaping and other personal expenses using wire transfers directly from his bank accounts in Cyprus and others in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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.
Welch had told jurors that Manafort didn't report at least $16 million on his tax returns between 2010 and 2014.
Gates, 46, is expected to be cross-examined for about another hour by Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing before prosecutors get a second chance to try and undo some of the possibly damaging testimony he gave during their redirect.
The culmination came Wednesday when Judge Ellis lost his temper with Uzo Asonye, one of the prosecutors, after learning that an IRS agent on the witness list as an expert had been sitting in the courtroom watching the proceedings all week.
Mr Gates testified he and Mr Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.
Special counsel Robert Mueller filed a formal complaint against the judge presiding over Paul Manafort's tax fraud case this week; claiming T.S. Ellis III violated protocol while ruling against the prosecution's star witness.
But Gates did not answer Downing's question after the prosecution objected to the relevance of the inquiry.
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When the jury is dismissed to deliberate, they will decide whether it was Manafort, Gates or both. Downing said, according to NBC News.
Gates said he did not.
The case against Manafort has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.
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 USA taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.
"I see no way that Judge Ellis' responses will not have an impact", said Joshua Dressler, an Ohio State University law professor.
"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the USA tax authorities.
Gates, who embezzled hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of dollars from his boss over a decade, went behind his back to cook numbers and hide his income for him, they have argued. While the charges aren't related to Manafort's time on the campaign, the trial is being eyed closely by the President and his team as they negotiate a potential interview between Trump and Mueller's team. He finished his testimony Wednesday, Day 7 of the trial.
"As a concession to the shortness of life, we need to get it done", Ellis said, after Andres implored him to allow the prosecutors to show the jury documents an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent reviewed.
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 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.
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