Manafort Trial Defense Chips Away at Credibility of Star Witness Gates

Paul Manafort

Gates said prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges on those matters, and dropped a second indictment against him accusing him of bank and tax fraud.

Gates' testimony concluded Wednesday following three days worth of questioning, during which he detailed how he and Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank accounts.

"He had these two guys running his campaign!"

While Gates and others have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and legal experts say he may be holding out hopes of a pardon from Trump.

Gates, who has pleaded guilty to a federal crime, testified that he organized fraudulent paperwork both with and without Manafort's knowledge.

On Tuesday, Downing asked how the jury could believe Gates "after all the lies you told and fraud you committed".

Gates said he did not.

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. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises". U.S. District court Judge T.S. Ellis III presides.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Gates to come clean about his own crimes.

An FBI forensic accountant is telling the jury in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial how she traced millions of dollars of payments for mortgages, home improvements and expensive cars, rugs and clothes back to his hidden foreign bank accounts.

"I admitted to a previous relationship", Gates said, adding that he maintained a flat for about two months.

On Wednesday, after eliciting an admission from Gates that his plea agreement could be thrown out if he lied, leading to further charges, Downing asked him if had told the Special Counsel "that you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?" The defense moved on. 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.

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IRS agent Michael Welch told a jury that Manafort's unreported income includes foreign wire transfers to US vendors like landscapers and clothiers, wire transfers to buy property, and income improperly reclassified as loans.

Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man, " to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme.

"Those appear to be substantially different, don't they?" defense attorney Richard Westling asked Magionos, showing her Manafort's signatures on a loan application to the Bank of California and one of the foreign banking documents.

Gates said he was aware this information was false and it was provided at Manafort's direction.

Mr Mueller's team is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts.

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

On Tuesday, Gates did connect one part of the bank fraud charges against Manafort to his role in the Trump campaign. They said they had never seen them before.

As well as being a senior aide on Trump's election campaign, Gates served as the deputy chairman of the United States president's inaugural committee. Instead, he asked Gates more broadly: "Does your secret life span over many years?"

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income.

He has already admitted embezzling some funds from Manafort.

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