Star witness ends testimony in fraud trial of ex-Trump campaign chief

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

Joshua Roberts Reuters In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

On Wednesday, Ellis reportedly scolded prosecutors in front of jurors over Welch's presence in the courtroom, saying he doesn't allow witnesses to watch trials.

"I've acknowledged there was a period where I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married.

Downing implied that Gates had lied on the stand, leading senior U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, the 78-year-old Ronald Reagan nominee overseeing the trial, to confer with both sides at the bench.

"Don't do that again", he bellowed at Mr. Asoyne.

See more from the judge in the clip above, including his thoughts on the testimony of Rick Gates, a former business partner of Manafort.

Melinda James, a mortgage loan assistant at Citizens Bank, told jurors how Manafort obtained a $3.4 million cash-out refinance in 2016 on a property he owned in Lower Manhattan.

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She said even though she worked with Gates a lot, it was clear to her that Manafort "knew what was going on" in most instances. While many of them have been out of earshot of the jury, the judge has repeatedly expressed frustration with how the prosecution had presented its case against Manafort.

The testimony, stretching across three days, created an extraordinary courtroom showdown between the two former Trump campaign aides who were indicted together by Mueller but who have since opted for radically different strategies: Manafort is the lone American charged by Mueller to opt for trial, whereas Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to co-operate by testifying against his former boss.

The eye-popping figures summed up a key portion of the prosecution's case following the conclusion of Manafort deputy Rick Gates' dramatic three-day testimony, during which he detailed how he and Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign bank accounts and had falsified financial documents.

But on Wednesday, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing seemed to accuse Gates of having affairs with multiple individuals, asking Gates whether he disclosed four affairs to the special counsel's office. "Mr. Manafort had the same path", Gates said.

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. One prosecutor noted that the judge had granted permission for the agent to attend.

He made the comment after he haggled with the attorneys for 20 minutes over the number and type of charts prosecutors could present during the testimony of an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant. "Pls (sic) make the five transfers listed below from the Leviathan account and confirm to me when completed", Manafort wrote.

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If you look at the rational reasons for that, it's hard to understand". "They would have equal status, as they have always had", he insists.


Gates said that Manafort asked him to meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen involved in paying him millions of dollars to find out if one of the shell companies used to pay him was a "clean entity".

Gates, under questioning by prosecutor Greg Andres, admitted that he padded his expense accounts with phony charges without Manafort's knowledge, siphoning "several hundred thousand" dollars from the secret accounts.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors, spent less than 70 minutes on the witness stand on Wednesday.

Manafort's lawyers have not yet indicated whether they plan to call witnesses as part of his defense.

Manafort, 69, is the first defendant to go to court to fight charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. I hope Manafort said "thank you" at least.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, said that in Downing's remaining hour of cross-examination on Wednesday, he needs to keep painting Gates as an unreliable person who can not be trusted.

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