Paul Manafort the one time campaign chairman for President Trump is back in court Thursday on charges of bank fraud and Tax evasion.
Day 7 Recap
The Washington Post — Day seven wrapped up Rick Gates, former business partner and also Trump campaign member, testimony, saw a FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos testify, and more confrontation between prosecutors and Judge T.S. Ellis.
Gates concluded his testimony, asked by defense attorney Kevin Downing about his interview with the FBI in 2014, Gates told jurors, he had disclosed some of the “Cyprus and Grenadines bank accounts that he and Manafort used to receive payments from their Ukrainian benefactors. He said Manafort told him they should be, “open and provide the information.”
Gates said he “told the FBI,” the accounts had been open to make it easier to receive payments from those they worked for in the Ukraine.
Gates was asked how much Manafort was worth “around 2015 and 2016, “$20 Million?” Downing asked, Gates replied he didn’t know about Manafort’s private accounts, but thought it was closer to, $6 million or $12 million.
Gates’ was again questioned about the admitted affair he had ten years ago, telling jurors it lasted five months. Gates also told the court that he had “voluntarily disclosed to the FBI that he was embezzling from Manafort.”
Downing during the final round of testimony from Gates seemed suggest Gates had four affairs, asked about his pretrial prep with the special counsels office, to which Gates testified, he “had no doubt at all,” that his plea deal would be “shredded if he lied on the witness stand.”
Up next was the FBI accountant that led to Judge Ellis and prosecutor Greg Andres once again exchanging heated words. Andres wanted to introduce charts, that should the flow of money from Manafort’s offshore accounts to specific purchases he made. Downing for the defense argued, “that the charts were cumulative, essentially,” it was evidence already testified to by other witnesses, that line of thought seemed to appeal to Judge Ellis who once again told Andres to “focus sharply,” in the Judge’s attempt to get the case wrapped up as quickly as possible. Andres told Judge Ellis, “we’ve been focused sharply for a long time.” The defense this time led by Richard Westling, told the court, that the defense would “stipulate to one of the prosecution’s charts,” the one that offered a higher level of Manafort’s spending. It ended with Judge Ellis agreeing to allow Andres to question the FBI agent, though Ellis put Andres on a tight leash, Judge Ellis then quipped “Judges should be patient. They made a mistake when they confirmed me.”
The FBI agent Morgan Magionos, was responsible for tracing Manafort’s financial affairs, she told jurors she found thirty-one “foreign bank accounts spanning 2010 to 2014 that listed Manafort, Rick Gates or Konstantin Kilimnik as the beneficial owners.” The accounts she told jurors were closed in 2013.
Magionos testified that in 2014 Manafort moved his money from Cyprus to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She testified that using invoices, emails, and documents she connected money Manafort transferred from foreign accounts to purchases made from the U.S.
In her closing testimony the accountant stated that between 2010 and 2014 that more than, “$60 million flowed through Paul Manafort’s overseas accounts, and he spent $15 million of that on homes, clothes and other personal purchases.”
IRS agent Michael Welch was called next, prompting another outburst from Judge Ellis, when it was discovered, that Welch had been presented in the court for testimony, Jude Ellis said he thought he barred all witnesses from being inside the courtroom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye explained that he thought, “expert,” witnesses were allowed to stay along with the case agent. Judge Ellis said “that was not his practice,” and even though he would allow Welch to testify, “I want you to remember, don’t do that again. When I exclude witnesses, I mean everybody.”
The Washington Post — Judge Ellis opened court today by apologizing to the prosecutors for his outburst over the expert witness from Wednesday, “I was probably wrong, like any human — and this robe doesn’t make me any more than a human. Any criticism of counsel should be put aside — it doesn’t have anything to do with this case.”
Prosecutors are expected to call eight more people to the stand for about an hour each for testimony, and should rest their case by Friday.