Manafort Trial Defense Chips Away at Credibility of Star Witness Gates
09 August, 2018, 19:37 | Author: Sheila Harris
In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, saying the two had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.
Manafort also used Ukraine-originated money to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of cosmetic dentistry, horseback riding, an Italian villa rental and apparently a yacht, according to Welch. At one point, as Gates had trouble recalling the details of his confession, Downing asked him, "Have they confronted you with so many lies that you can't even remember them?"
"Pls make the 5 transfers listed below from the Leviathan account and confirm to me when completed", he wrote in an email to the Cypriot law firm that maintained signatory control over his accounts.
Gates was hired by Manafort to serve as deputy campaign chairman and later had a role on Mr Trump's inaugural committee.
"After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"
Lawyers for Mr Manafort are determined to impugn the credibility of Mr Gates.
Earlier on Tuesday, the prosecution had continued to question Gates, who described how millions of dollars were allegedly funnelled from entities controlled by Ukrainian businessmen into Manafort's shell companies in Cyprus.
But Gates did not answer Downing's question after the prosecution objected to the relevance of the inquiry.
Prosecutors called their second government witness of the trial to the stand Wednesday to outline the investigative methods that led to the tax evasion charges against Manafort.
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Morgan Magionos told jurors Wednesday that bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates.
In three days of testimony, Gates acknowledged cheating on his wife, stealing from Manafort and initially lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian election meddling. He also admitted to embezzling money from other employers in the past.
Then, turning solemn, Gates said he had "no doubt in his mind" that the Special Counsel's Office would rip up the plea agreement and throw the charges - and then some - back onto him if he were wrong about what Manafort had done. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.
He has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has been pushing prosecutors to hurry through their case.
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"That's really beyond the pale for the judge", Litman said of the exchange, which took place during cross-examination, in front of the jury.
"Generally, when a person's testimony is corroborated by objective evidence - whether that be a recording, a document, or something else - it makes it hard to attack that by just attacking the witness's credibility", a former US attorney with experience prosecuting similar fraud cases said.
"I was critical of counsel for ... allowing an expert to remain in the courtroom", Ellis told the jury prior to Thursday's testimony.
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Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate. Bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts are poised to recount that he lied to get mortgages.
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