Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Takeaways from Day 7 of the Manafort Trial

Takeaways from Day 7 of the Manafort Trial

Rick Gates has finished his testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss, Paul Manafort, after one last effort by defense lawyers to erode his credibility.

Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, is charged with 18 counts of tax and banking crimes, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges. "I hear the list is being considered this weekend", the Washington Post reported.

During his testimony Monday, Gates admitted he had embezzled money from Manafort by creating false expense reports on his own behalf.

As well as being a senior aide on Trump's election campaign, Gates served as the deputy chairman of the U.S. president's inaugural committee. Both sides agreed ahead of time to limit discussion of the campaign so as not to prejudice the jury, though they had agreed to allow testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the campaign.

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.

Calk spoke with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on November 16, 2016, at a Chicago business lunch, according to a letter sent by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, to Calk, CNN reported.

Manafort's defense team says it was actually Gates who committed the financial crimes, without Manafort knowing, and Manafort's lawyers also have sought to exploit the guilty plea that Gates has accepted after he was indicted on related charges.

"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.

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.

After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight.

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"I think Gates was a very poor witness".

On Wednesday, Gates initially testified Manafort told him to be truthful during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation about offshore shell companies and bank accounts that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work. Gates said he was responsible for collecting all relevant documents for the loan applications.

"After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"

The tough questioning of Gates came after he spent hours telling jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill. A bookkeeper said she helped disguise foreign income as a loan to reduce Manafort's tax burden. But then prosecutor Greg Andres invoked Trump's name, and Gates' and Manafort's work on the campaign became more explicitly tied to the alleged crimes at the heart of the trial.

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

Gates admitted to hiding his own income from the IRS in offshore bank accounts.

More recently, after the launch of the Mueller investigation but before his plea bargain, Gates lied to the FBI about a meeting between Manafort and an unnamed US Congressman regarding a "specific issue".

Mr Manafort's trial in Alexandria is the first to arise out the Mueller probe and marks a major public test of that investigation's credibility.

"There is a period of time over 10 years ago when I had a relationship, yes", Gates said. He also admitted to embezzling "several hundred thousand" dollars from Manafort including funds used to finance a London apartment to engage in an extra-marital affair. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.

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