Gates Describes Manafort Orders While Defense Hammers 'Secret Life'

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort

This courtroom sketch depicts defense lawyer Kevin Downing asking questions of Rick Gates, as former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, bottom front left, listens during Manafort's trial on bank fraud and tax evasion. In one example, Manafort and Gates emailed each other copies of a doctored profit and loss statement they later sent a bank to help Manafort obtain a loan.

Prosecutors sandwiched the testimony of Gates around other witnesses who, in sometimes dry and detailed testimony, described Manafort's lavish spending and use of offshore accounts to stash Ukrainian political consulting fees.

When Laporta and a colleague provided an assessment of how much tax Manafort would owe, Gates responded that Manafort didn't have the money to pay it.

HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images Paul Manafort.

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. Did Gates, Andres asked, have any doubt that the special counsel would "rip up your plea agreement" if he lied on the stand? Gates said it was a mistake a decade ago that he regretted. Prosecutors allege Manafort used various ways to hide his income, including wiring money from Ukraine to the United States via a bank in Cyprus and listing it as a loan, and laundering almost $1 million through the purchases of Oriental rugs. Mr Downing asked Gates.

The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, cut Gates off, saying, "this isn't the time for that".

Downing then asked whether Gates's "secret life" spanned the four-year period from 2010 to 2014, when he was embezzling from Manafort. "The secret Rick Gates?"

Paul Manafort's former accountant was sacked from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort's tax returns contained false information.

In addition, Gates has admitted to other criminal conduct.

He is the first subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation to stand trial. But prosecutors dropped charges against Gates after the former business partner took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

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Prosecutors are nearing the end of their case against Manafort.

Mr Gates recounted how he and Mr 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.

By that time, Gates was working on Trump's inaugural committee.

The veteran Republican operative is not on trial for anything he did while serving for three months in 2016 as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign.

Morgan Magionos told jurors Wednesday that bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates.

Prosecutor Greg Andres addressed the defence lawyer's questions about whether the special counsel's office had tried to coach Gates on how to testify.

Welch testified that Manafort used his foreign income for purchases that included a yacht, horseback riding, Italian villa rental and cosmetic dentistry. Referring to Manafort's pretrial confinement, Trump asked whether Manafort was being treated worse than Al Capone.

Of the 18 felony charges Manafort faces, nine relate to bank fraud and involve mortgages from Citizens Bank, Banc of California, Genesis Capital, and the Federal Savings Bank, a small Chicago lender whose chief executive was named to an economic advisory panel to the Trump campaign.

At the time he worked for Trump, jurors heard, Manafort's business in Ukraine had always been dried up, and his firm didn't have any clients. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat.

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