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m3n4.net August 17, 2018


Manafort defence attorneys rip into star prosecution witness

09 August 2018, 05:30 | Tara Lloyd

Getty Images TPM Illustration

Getty Images  TPM Illustration

Gates, who pleaded guilty to charges in February and is cooperating on the possibility of a reduced sentence, has testified that he helped Manafort falsify his tax returns, lie to banks to get loans and hide foreign bank accounts.

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.

Overall, the accountant traced more than $65 million flowing into offshore accounts controlled by Manafort, and she detailed for jurors how more than $15.5 million flowed out to fund his lavish lifestyle between 2010 and 2014.

The fraud trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort enters its eighth day as prosecutors say they plan on resting their case by the end of Friday.

Gates, who pleaded guilty in February to charges of conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, admitted to committing crimes with former business associate Manafort earlier this week.

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano criticized U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on Wednesday for his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

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Under questioning, Gates said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate.

But the grilling got more intense, and personal, Tuesday afternoon when Downing pressed Gates about a "secret life" he said was funded by embezzlement, including an extramarital affair that Gates himself acknowledged.

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.

But it was Gates' testimony that has generated the most drama, as the witness admitted embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his boss, confessed to an extramarital affair and turned in spectacular fashion against a longtime mentor.

The face-off between longtime business associates and former senior members of the Trump campaign drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings. His former accountant Cindy Laporta has already testified that she participated in that fraud, as did his ex-employee Rick Gates. "Mr. Manafort had the same path", Gates said. "I have taken responsibility".

The questioning is part of the Manafort defense strategy of presenting Gates to the jury as someone who lies and can not be trusted.

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Downing said that the question, which came one day after Gates admitted to having a single affair ten years ago, was relevant because it could prove that Gates had lied to investigators.

He also said Manafort had asked him to disguise income as loans. The charges are not related to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

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. "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec (retary) of the Army", Manafort wrote to Gates in an email on November 24, 2016.

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 USA government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

You told me you were on top of this.

In one exchange published in court Wednesday, Manafort instructs his Cypriot lawyer, Kypros Chrysostomides - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because, according to Gates, his name is hard to spell and pronounce - to transfer money from the Manafort-controlled Leviathan Ltd.

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