Judge in Paul Manafort trial apologizes for rebuking prosecution

Frederick Owens
August 10, 2018

When Yanukovych lost power, Gates testified that "decreased the income stream" significantly for Manafort, and his financial situation "substantially decreased" from prior years.

There were several tense moments between Ellis and the prosecution team this week, not the least of which was the moment when the judge accused one of the attorneys of having "tears in his eyes" and impolitely refusing to look at him.

It's unclear whether Ellis was only apologizing for the mixup with the IRS agent.

Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.

During his three days of testimony, Gates laid out in detail how payments to Manafort's company from political work in Ukraine were made to bank accounts in Cyprus and the money was never reported to accountants or the Internal Revenue Service. That man, Konstantin Kilimnik, is charged along with Manafort with witness tampering in a separate case.

Andres questioned: "Did you tell the Federal Bureau of Investigation there was hidden income in those accounts?"

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 United States taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

In one case, Magionos traced how foreign accounts were used by Manafort to pay for more than $3.5 million in home improvements.

Mr Gates testified he and Mr Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents. Gates also said Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk's name for consideration as Secretary of the Army, a post he ultimately did not get. But prosecutors dropped charges against Gates after the former business partner took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. They made a mistake when they confirmed me.

Ellis encouraged both the prosecution and the defense to not try his patience with unnecessary objections or other delays.

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Ellis and Andres continued to butt heads Wednesday, after Ellis once again reminded the prosecutors they should wrap their case quickly. He frequently used the phrases "It's possible" and "I don't recall" as Downing challenged him about inconsistencies in testimony he gave to the special counsel's office. Gates, a married father of four, faced tough questioning under cross-examination on Tuesday about leading a "secret life". "This robe doesn't make me anything other than human".

In his second day of testifying against his former boss, Mr Gates said at the time he worked on President Trump's election campaign, his salary was paid by savings and investments from Mr Manafort.

Gates said he did not.

Gates added that Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads-up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the US government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors requested Thursday that part of a conversation they had with Judge T.S. Ellis III and defense lawyers for Paul Manafort two days earlier be kept private, because it revealed "substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing investigation".

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

"It was highly inappropriate to raise the other affairs, and the judge's response was very generous", said Gene Rossi, a former prosecutor who has been attending the trial as a spectator.

But Downing wasn't able to re-ask Gates about four extramarital affairs.

Gates also admitted that he covertly wired funds out of Manafort's offshore accounts to line his own pockets, using the same tricks he deployed to help doctor and falsify records for Manafort. He challenged the witness: "Have they [the special counsel's office] confronted you with so many lies you can't remember any of it?"

Manafort, who helped Republicans Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan reach the White House, was Mr Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016.

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