War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

Erika Holt
August 10, 2018

Rick Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents.

Andres said his side has focused sharply on the accusations they need to prove.

James testified about uncovering Manafort's alleged lies by perusing insurance documentation for the Brooklyn property and making a quick call to Street Easy, which confirmed the Howard St. address "was listed for rent".

According to a court transcript, Downing had agreed in a conference on Tuesday with the judge and prosecutors not to raise the subject with Gates, a longtime business partner of Manafort's.

And in one remarkable exchange that the jury did not hear, Ellis told prosecutor Greg Andres to "look at me when you're talking to me", and then suggested Andres had tears in his eyes.

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.

Television cameras are positioned outside the U.S. District Courthouse where former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is being tried on charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 7, 2018. The firm's director was known to Manafort and Gates as "Doctor K". Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics and evidence at New York University, said the judge was right to make a corrective statement to the jurors. "I'm here", Gates responded.

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.

Prosecutors sought to soften the blow of the cross-examination by asking Gates to acknowledge his own crimes, including a lie to Mueller's team in February. Downing asked Gates whether he had told prosecutors that he had four extramarital affairs.

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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". Prosecutors say they expect to rest their case Friday.

"Yes, because I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates replied.

Ellis lost his cool at the start of Special Agent Michael Welch's testimony, after the government witness said he had been in the courtroom for some of the trial.

"I see no way that Judge Ellis' responses will not have an impact", said Joshua Dressler, an Ohio State University law professor.

Prosecutors are nearing the end of their case against Manafort. And the fact that after loaning Manafort millions of dollars Calk became an economic adviser to Trump casts doubt on Trump's famous pledge to "drain the swamp" and puncture the rampant influence peddling in Washington.

After wrapping up the tax portion of their case, prosecutors have moved on to bankers who were involved in extending Manafort loans during his scramble to generate cash in 2015 and 2016 after work dried up following a loss of business in Ukraine.

Within two months of securing the aforementioned $3.4 million loan from Citizens Bank in March 2016, Manafort applied for another loan - for $5.5 million - for his Brooklyn property, Citizens Bank loan officer assistant Taryn Rodriguez testified Thursday afternoon.

Gates finished his testimony Wednesday after admitting that his secret life of cheating on his wife was more extensive than he had indicated earlier.

"I was critical of counsel ... for allowing an expert to remain in the courtroom", Judge Ellis said.

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