Gates, star witness against Manafort, concludes testimony

Frustrated Manafort emailed Gates WTF

Frustrated Manafort emailed Gates WTF

Prosecutors summoned Mr Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Mr Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. He testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, concealing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

Laporta admitted on the witness stand last Friday that during a conference call in September 2015, she agreed, on Gates' urging, to alter a tax document for one of Manafort's businesses in order to disguise $900,000 in foreign income as a loan, according to the Associated Press, thus reducing Manafort's tax burden by almost half a million dollars.

That's important to prosecutors, who need to not only prove Manafort skimped on paying millions of dollars in taxes.

In an aggressive cross-examination on Tuesday, Manafort's lead attorney Downing said to Gates: "You stole from Mr. Manafort".

Lawyers for Mr Manafort are determined to impugn the credibility of Mr Gates.

Gates, meanwhile, wearing dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, cut a lonely figure at the witness stand, blinking hard.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has repeatedly clashed in the Paul Manafort case with the Judge T.S. Ellis, who has refused to let prosecutors display photos of Manafort's luxury purchases, urged them to hurry up their questions and has even reprimanded one lawyer for being impolite and not looking at the judge while speaking to him.

Prosecutors didn't specify the nature of the information, but one bench conference came after Manafort's defense team attempted to question Gates about whether he had discussed his work on the Trump campaign with Mueller's team.

The prosecution's case against Manafort doesn't rest exclusively on Gates. Downing said, according to NBC News. "It has nothing to do with your consideration in this case", he said, adding: "This robe doesn't make me anything other than human".

Melinda James, a mortgage assistant at Citizens Bank, told jurors that Manafort falsely claimed that one property, 377 Union St.in Carroll Gardens, belonged to him "free and clear" while another, 29 Howard St.in Soho, was a second residence where his daughter and her husband lived.

The judge's comments on the eighth day of the trial were in response to a written filing by prosecutors arguing that Ellis should instruct the jury that he made an error in admonishing them during the Wednesday testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch.

"The jury is very sensitive to what it perceives, correctly or not, to be the judge's view of the case", Gillers said.

Banc of California executive Gary Seferian said they ultimately issued Manafort a $1 million loan based on the reported income for his political consulting firm, DMP International, that the prosecution has shown Manafort and Gates inflated from roughly $400,000 to $4.4 million.

Manafort, 69, a veteran Republican political operative, was Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016, when he was forced to step down amid questions about his work for Ukraine's former pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

"Judges should be patient", Ellis said. And the fact that after loaning Manafort millions of dollars Calk became an economic adviser to Trump casts doubt on Trump's famous pledge to "drain the swamp" and puncture the rampant influence peddling in Washington. He poked fun at himself Wednesday as he haggled with the attorneys for 20 minutes over the number and type of charts prosecutors could present during the testimony of the Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant.

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'm here. I'm trying to change", he said.

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