Star witness Rick Gates to testify for third day in Manafort trial


While President Donald Trump has not played a significant role in the trial, Gates testified on Tuesday that after the election, Manafort recommended a banker who loaned him money to be Trump's Army secretary.

Both Gates and Manafort were indicted last October by a federal grand jury on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the U.S. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He is the first subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation to stand trial.

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

Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant Morgan Magionos used charts, emails from Manafort to his lawyers in Cyprus, and other corroborating documents to detail how Manafort funneled roughly $15 million from hidden offshore accounts to purchase home electronic installations, real estate, fancy clothing, such as the now-infamous $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket, and other luxuries from 2010 to 2014.

Welch also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years.

She said Manafort's passport was used to open many of them in US dollars, euros and British pounds.

During his testimony Monday, Gates admitted he had embezzled money from Manafort by creating false expense reports on his own behalf. Raico and Brennan were among 35 people on the prosecution's initial witness list and are two of the five witnesses who secured immunity.

Part of that record were several emails Manafort sent Gates. According to trial testimony, he used the accounts to receive millions of dollars in payments from Ukrainian oligarchs.

The questioning is part of the Manafort defense strategy of presenting Gates to the jury as someone who lies and can not be trusted. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat.

The prosecution produced an undated email exchange between Mr Manafort and Mr Gates which outlines the amount of tax the campaign chief might have to pay.

Speaking of Ellis, the 78-year-old U.S. District Court judge overseeing the Eastern Virginia trial renewed his angry tone with prosecutors Wednesday. However, Gates also said the agents did not ask about tax returns and "the majority of the Cypriot accounts were closed" at the stage.

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"I do somehow think he has gotten his back up personally about Greg Andres".

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.

At times, Ellis has crossed lines, Litman said.

Gates testified Tuesday that he and Manafort engaged a law firm in Cyprus - and its director, "Doctor K" - to help hide millions of dollars they received for their work in Ukraine.

Prosecutors have said they hope to finish presenting their case by the end of the week.

The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess.

Ellis has repeatedly pushed prosecutors to whittle down their case to save time.

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade U.S. taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine. Then he suggested that Gates had not been honest.

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

Gates testified that he had an extramarital affair a decade ago, and also that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort.

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

A spokesman for the special counsel's declined to comment. But Gates nonetheless faced aggressive questioning by Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, who at one point asked him, "After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"