Takeaways from Day 7 of the Manafort Trial

10 Août, 2018, 03:16 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates right testifying during questioning in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort at federal court in Alexandria Va. on Tuesday. U.S. district Judge T.S. Ellis III presides at top right

The prosecution's star witness Rick Gates took the stand for a second day in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Mr Gates recounted how he and Mr Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

She identified Manafort as the person in control of the 31 foreign bank accounts.

More than $15 million of that went to personal purchases, like ostrich and python skin jackets, a dining room renovation, flower beds in the Hamptons and a karaoke machine, the IRS and Federal Bureau of Investigation employees testified.

Manafort is accused of committing bank and tax fraud by hiding political consultant income he earned in Ukraine from the Internal Revenue Service.

Testimony resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET in Alexandria, Virginia, and the government is expected to rest by Friday.

Manafort is the first person to be tried on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Mr Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, has indicted more than 30 people - including 26 Russians - in connection with his probe into whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to help get the real estate tycoon elected.

Mr Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of Gates on Tuesday, accusing Gates of being immersed in "so many lies" he can't remember them all and demanded to know how a jury could possibly trust him.

Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans

But Gates did not answer Downing's question after the prosecution objected to the relevance of the inquiry.

The face-off between longtime business associates and former senior members of the Trump campaign drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings.

Welch said he arrived at the $16.5 million figure based on an accounting method used by Manafort.

Prosecutors relied on Gates to provide first-hand support of the accusations against Manafort.

Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong effect of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.

In all, the pair of authoritative money trackers explained just how large Manafort's alleged foreign bank-account scheme was and how much he's accused of siphoning secretly into luxe purchases. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He barked at U.S. Attorney Greg Andres to "focus sharply" - a common refrain of his over the past week - when Andres asked permission for Magionos to testify about charts she put together detailing the flow of money from Manafort's foreign accounts to various vendors in the U.S. Although the charges largely pre-date the five months Manafort spent on Trump's campaign, he had made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians. "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.

Mueller's team called on Gates to testify this week so they could introduce evidence that showed, among other dealings, that Manafort authorized foreign wire transfers from accounts he did not report on his tax returns and that he fudged the numbers on a profit and loss statement in 2016 in order to secure a bank loan. Gates also said Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk's name for consideration as Secretary of the Army, a post he ultimately did not get.

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

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