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Politics Manafort’s defense team takes parting shot at Rick Gates as star witness ends testimony

02:10  09 august  2018
02:10  09 august  2018 Source:   msn.com

Manafort lawyers' decision to rest without calling witnesses could lead to aquittal

  Manafort lawyers' decision to rest without calling witnesses could lead to aquittal Paul Manafort, who ran Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign for several months, is accused of tax crimes and bank fraud related to work he did for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort's lawyers made a tactical decision on Tuesday to not call any witnesses in their client's defense. That may have surprised many laymen who are following the trial, but it is a strategy that that happens "all the time" in criminal cases, according to defense attorneys.

— Lawyers for Paul Manafort accused his longtime deputy Rick Gates of having four extramarital affairs and lying about them, a last attempt by the defense to undermine the credibility of the government’ s star witness at the fraud trial of Mr. Manafort on Wednesday.

On Day 6 of the blockbuster trial, the jury heard those words uttered by Mueller’s star witness , Rick Gates : “At Mr. Manafort ’ s direction.” Manafort ’ s attorneys had previewed their defense strategy last week during opening statements. They said it was Gates , not Manafort , who masterminded these

This courtroom sketch depicts defense lawyer Kevin Downing asking questions of Rick Gates while Paul Manafort, bottom front left, listens.© Dana Verkouteren/AP This courtroom sketch depicts defense lawyer Kevin Downing asking questions of Rick Gates while Paul Manafort, bottom front left, listens.

Without a parting glance, Rick Gates left the witness stand Wednesday after three days of testimony that prosecutors hope will seal a guilty verdict against his former boss, Paul Manafort, on tax and bank fraud charges.

Gates, the star witness at Manafort’s trial in Alexandria, Va., portrayed him as a demanding boss who directed a years-long scheme to hide millions of dollars from the IRS in foreign bank accounts, and use that money to spend a fortune on expensive suits, homes, and home entertainment systems. Gates also admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort with phony invoices and padded expenses.

Paul Manafort trial Day 6: Live coverage

  Paul Manafort trial Day 6: Live coverage Paul Manafort, President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, is on trial in federal court in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges.Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

The prosecution’ s star witness , Rick Gates , detailed a yearslong fraud by Paul Manafort . The defense took aim at Mr. Gates ’ s credibility.CreditMark Wilson/Getty Images. The testimony managed to further blacken the reputations of both Mr. Manafort , Mr. Trump’ s campaign chairman for

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 conceal millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents. Defense lawyers saw an opening to undermine his testimony by

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

The case is a critical public test of the work done by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, as Manafort is the first person charged by Mueller’s office to go to trial. More than a dozen witnesses have told the court how Manafort and Gates, two political consultants who once held senior positions in the Trump campaign, spent years stashing cash overseas and living beyond their means.

Manafort’s defense strategy has been to blame Gates for any wrongdoing.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing took one final shot at Gates before he left the witness stand Wednesday, accusing him of engaging in more marital infidelity than Gates acknowledged earlier. Under previous questioning, he admitted to a transatlantic affair 10 years ago.

Paul Manafort trial: Takeaways from day five

  Paul Manafort trial: Takeaways from day five The fifth day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial, after a weekend break, surprised the attendees in the courtroom when prosecutors called Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates to testify. Here are four takeaways from the afternoon in court Monday:1. The day the courtroom was waiting for Gates came out swinging from the witness box. Without smiling or pausing, he told the jury he had knowingly committed crimes "at Mr. Manafort's direction.

Mr Manafort ' s defence team is cross-examining his former right hand man, Rick Gates , who is now star witness for the prosecution. Gates told the court on Monday that Mr Manafort ordered him to commit fraud.

Photo. Rick Gates is the prosecution’ s star witness in the money fraud trial of his former boss, Paul Manafort , President Trump’ s onetime campaign chairman. • It is unclear whether Mr. Manafort will take the stand in his own defense . His lawyers would not say.

Downing asked if Gates had told the special counsel’s office that “you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?” The attorney appeared to be trying to show that even in his court testimony, Gates was still not telling the full truth. But after a lengthy sidebar before U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, Downing asked a different question, whether Gates’ “secret life” continued into the 2010-2014 time period.

Those are the years prosecutors have focused on in attempting to prove that Manafort hid about $15 million in income from the IRS.

“Mr. Downing, I’d say I made many mistakes, over many years,” Gates answered.

Gates worked for Manafort for more than a decade before the pair were indicted last year on bank fraud and tax charges. In February, Gates pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and conspiring against the United States. Under sentencing guidelines, he could get roughly five to six years in prison for those crimes, but he said he hopes his cooperation with the government will result in less time behind bars.

Star witness Gates to testify for third day in Manafort trial

  Star witness Gates to testify for third day in Manafort trial U.S. President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates will take the stand for a third day on Wednesday, after admitting he stole money from his former boss Paul Manafort and helped falsify documents to avoid taxes.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 undue some of the possibly damaging testimony he gave during their redirect.

Rick Gates returns to the witness stand Tuesday. He said Monday he was directed by Paul Manafort to lie to evade taxes. Gates spent much of his testimony Monday corroborating that version of events, but on Tuesday, Manafort ' s defense team will get a chance to paint a different picture.

Mr Manafort ' s defence team is cross-examining his former right hand man, Rick Gates , who is now star witness for the prosecution. Gates told the court on Monday that Mr Manafort ordered him to commit fraud.

While the Manafort trial grew from the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts, those issues are not part of these proceedings.

When the questioning of Gates ended around 11 a.m. Wednesday, he was dismissed from court. Gates did not look at Manafort as he left the room.

During and after Gates’ testimony, Ellis continued to spar with prosecutors, a daily occurrence during the trial.

The judge argued with prosecutors over a chart that had been prepared by the FBI. Ellis has repeatedly pressed prosecutors to accelerate their case, and he said such charts would only slow things.

“We need to find a way to focus sharply,” the judge said.

“We’ve been focused sharply for a long time,” countered prosecutor Greg Andres.

Ellis ended the argument with a joke. “Judges should be patient,” he said. “They made a mistake when they confirmed me.”

The judge berated prosecutors again when he learned that the prosecution’s next witness — IRS agent Michael Welch — had been watching the trial from the gallery.

Rick Gates Seen as ‘Despicable,’ But His Testimony May Doom Paul Manafort

  Rick Gates Seen as ‘Despicable,’ But His Testimony May Doom Paul Manafort Rick Gates might have come across as a reprehensible star witness at Paul Manafort’s fraud trial, but his testimony still may help Special Counsel Robert Mueller get a conviction. Manafort’s right-hand man for a decade, Gates admitted he cheated on his wife, stole from his boss and lied to Mueller’s prosecutors. Those admissions may not play well with the jury.He came across as “a pretty despicable guy,’’ said Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor observing the trial. “Gates did particularly poorly because he was needlessly evasive and argumentative.’’But it wasn’t all bad for prosecutors.

The courtroom showdown between Paul Manafort and his former right hand man Rick Gates grew painfully personal Tuesday as a defense lawyer forced the star witness to admit he embezzled money years ago to fund a transatlantic extramarital affair.

Rick Gates , a longtime deputy to Manafort who is cooperating with prosecutors, is likely to face withering cross-examination by defence team . Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images. Lawyers are expected to tear into the credibility of the star witness at the trial of former Trump

Prosecutors asked the judge to allow Welch as an expert witness — meaning he, unlike other witnesses, would be allowed to offer his professional opinion to the jury. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye then revealed that Welch had been seated in the courtroom for the duration of the proceedings.

Ellis erupted, saying that he typically bars all witnesses — save the case agent — from observing and thought he had done so in this case.

“I want you to remember, don’t do that again. When I exclude witnesses, I mean everybody,” Ellis said. When Asonye pointed out that the judge had previously said the expert could stay in the courtroom, the judge snapped: “I don’t care what the transcript said; maybe I made a mistake. Don’t do it again.”

Manafort, Welch testified, paid out more than $15.5 million to vendors between 2010 and 2014, without reporting and paying taxes on that money. Manafort also falsely classified other income as loans, Welch said.

The IRS agent said that figure was a conservative estimate, and did not include possible business expenses such as 132,000 euros to a yacht company, $49,000 for an Italian villa rental, $45,000 for cosmetic dentistry and $19,800 for a riding academy.

Even under that conservative analysis, he said, Manafort did not report millions of dollars in offshore income.

That accounting was based on the work of FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos, who found 31 foreign bank accounts from the 2010 to 2014 time period that listed Manafort, Gates, or Manafort’s longtime employee Konstantin Kilimnik as the beneficial owners of those accounts. They kept those accounts in Cyprus until about 2013, when a banking crisis on that island led them to move their money to accounts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Prosecutors have said they expect to finish presenting their case Friday.

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Tom Jackman contributed to this report.

Ukraine in focus as Manafort trial in U.S. heads to second day .
The political consulting work that President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort did to earn $60 million in Ukraine is expected to take the spotlight on Wednesday on the second day of his criminal trial. The first witness set to be questioned by prosecutors is Daniel Rabin, a political consultant who produced TV ads for Manafort in Ukraine. Rabin will likely be asked to elaborate on the nature of Manafort's work for pro-Russian politicians there.Prosecutors said their second witness would be an FBI agent, whose name was not disclosed.

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