Manafort defence attorneys rip into star prosecution witness

Lester Mason
August 9, 2018

When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony.

Gates said prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges on those matters, and dropped a second indictment against him accusing him of bank and tax fraud.

Kilimnik is charged along with Manafort with witness tampering in a separate case.

Prosecutors called Morgan Magionos, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant, as the next witness to testify.

Numerous emails admitted into evidence Wednesday showed how Manafort personally directed wire transfers from such accounts.

Asked why he had lied, Gates said he had done so at Mr Manafort's request.

From the prosecution's perspective, Magionos' testimony was key to the jury's understanding of the case.

Prosecutors have noted that Gates and Manafort were not the targets of the investigation at the time of the interview.

"It actually kind of shows in real time the course of months of investigation where they painstakingly did a jigsaw puzzle of records", former USA prosecutor Harry Litman said of Magionos' testimony.

When Trump asked Perlmutter, a friend and confidante, to help put together his government in December 2016, he agreed to be an outside adviser, selected veterans as his focus, and roped in two other friends, Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskovitz and lawyer Marc Sherman, Arnsdorf says.

"You and I were talking during the break, the jury can't be happy with this judge because of the snide, snarky comments", he added to Perino.

Manafort's defense team did its darndest to sully Gates as a liar, a cheat, a thief and an adulterer for eight hours inside Judge T.S. Ellis' Alexandria courtroom over the past three days.

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


"I've acknowledged there was a period where I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married.

Manafort's attorneys have signaled they will seek to blame Gates and have accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort. "I thought he was needlessly evasive and argumentative", said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney in MI who has been watching the trial and said she observed jurors reacting with negative body language as he testified.

"I would be surprised, given what's occurred in the Manafort trial, if Judge Ellis didn't issue this relatively standard instruction", Abramson said.

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

Gates, who pleaded guilty to charges in February and is co-operating for the possibility of a reduced sentence, testified that he helped Manafort falsify his tax returns, lie to banks to get loans and hide foreign bank accounts.

As part of his plea agreement to cooperate with prosecutors, Gates also admitted to lying to investigators from the special counsel's office - a fact Downing also seized upon. Manafort's lawyers on Wednesday tried to further malign Gates as a witness by suggesting Gates lied about the number of extramarital affairs he's had.

The prosecutors and judge stopped Gates from answering the question, yet he still ended his testimony by saying he had "made many mistakes over many years".

Gates on Monday admitted he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false bank statements.

He also said Manafort had asked him to disguise income as loans.

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.

Downing also asked Gates if he had submitted personal expenses to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee.

Gates's testimony wrapped moment later.

"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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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