Federal Bureau of Investigation says ex-Trump campaign chairman hid over 30 offshore accounts

У справі Манафорта з невідомих причин оголосили перерву – новини

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

Rick Gates, under cross examination at the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of his former boss Paul Manafort, admitted that he had "another relationship" involving first-class flights and luxury hotels, but denied these were funded with money embezzled from Manafort.

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.

But when Downing tried to question Gates on Tuesday about what the special counsel team had asked him about the Trump campaign, Andres objected. And the witness never did. When Downing resumed his questioning about what he called Gates' "secret life", Gates testified that he'd "made many mistakes over many years and I regret them".

The judge has subjected the prosecution to repeated tongue-lashings over the pace of their questioning, their massive amount of trial exhibits and even their facial expressions.

Gates also said that he did not report 15 foreign offshore bank accounts to the government.

Neither Manafort nor Gates was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the special counsel continues to investigate Russian election interference and any ties to associates of the president.

Defense attorneys then used several hours of cross-examination to try to damage Gates' credibility in the eyes of jurors.

Paul Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing on Wednesday asked whether longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy.

"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort".

On Tuesday, Downing mocked and belittled Gates, browbeat and embarrassed him, and branded him repeatedly as a liar unworthy of the jury's trust and respect.

But Kevin Downing, an attorney representing Manafort, got in one final swipe at Gates before his testimony came to an end.

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On Thursday morning, the judge told the jury, "I may well have been wrong", adding that he had not read the court transcript.

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort". "When I exclude witnesses I mean everybody, unless I make a special exception".

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.

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018.

Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work.

Gates finally admitted that he had provided false information prior to striking a plea agreement.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is not pleased with how the judge in the Paul Manafort trial has conducted himself.

The Airbnb employee's testimony appears to confirm one of the lies prosecutors allege Manafort told a bank as he sought money from it. Banks give more money toward properties used by their owners as residences - even second homes - than they do for rentals, and Manafort appears not to have disclosed income from the rental on his tax returns.

"I'm not happy with this judge", Napolitano said on "The Daily Briefing" on Wednesday.

"Generally, when a person's testimony is corroborated by objective evidence - whether that be a recording, a document, or something else - it makes it hard to attack that by just attacking the witness's credibility", a former US attorney with experience prosecuting similar fraud cases said.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign.

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