The Washington Post — The trial of former President Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resumed on Monday in Alexandria, Virginia.
Rick Gates, former business partner of Manafort, and also, former Trump campaign member, is expected to be the next witness called according to Manafort’s defense attorney Kevin Downing who made the “revelation,” while cross examining accountant, Cindy Laporta, “about what he said was Gates embezzling from Manafort,” when the prosecutor objected to the line of questioning based on “facts not in evidence,” Downing said, “Mr. Gates is next up.”
Gates who was originally charged as a “co-conspirator,” plead guilty to “conspiracy and lying to the FBI in February,” and is cooperating with prosecutors.
The trial which has entered its fifth day, focuses on financial crimes, so far throughout the trial we have heard of Manafort’s lavish lifestyle and spending habits, along with vendors testifying to forged billable invoices for work they had not charged Manafort for and accountants. One such accountant was Cindy Laporta, who was granted immunity for her testimony, told jurors that Manafort knowing filed false statements in regards to his taxes.
Gates is expected to testify to “allegations that Manafort filed false tax returns, committed bank fraud and lied to get loans worth millions.
Gates’s testimony is expected to the highlight of the trial.
Authors Note: The linked Washington Post article is a “live blog,” of the events unfolding inside the courtroom. If you are interested the Twitter hashtags are, #Manafort and #ManafortTrial. As of 3:33 p.m. eastern time there had been no new updates.
Updated With Early Testimony
Information provided by The Washington Post.
Gates took the stand at 4:38 p.m. eastern time. Prosecutor Greg Andres questioned the witness.
Gates testified that he and Manafort committed crimes.
Gates testified that he and Manafort knowingly did not report foreign bank accounts. Gates went on to testify that he under Manafort’s direction reported money wired from his “foreign bank accounts as loans, rather than income,” this was in order for Manafort to “defer the amount of taxes he owed.”
Gates admits that he did embezzle money from Manafort. He told jurors that he had the authority over some of “Manaforts Cyprus accounts, “I added money to expense reports and created expense reports,” he said adding, they were’t accurate expenses, admitting he did so to pad his salary by, “several hundred thousand dollars.” Manafort was not the only employer Gates embezzled from, he testified that he “volunteered this information in his meetings with the government.”
It was during this line of questioning that Gates explained the terms of his plea deal, stating for the record and jurors, if he “fails to abide by the deal’s conditions,” which includes being caught lying during his testimony, new charges could be filed against him.
Prosecutors and the proceeding Judge T.S. Ellis, once again clashed.
Andres attempted to “enter into evidence,” Gates passport, to show his travel to the Cyprus and the Ukraine, but Ellis interrupted
“Let’s get to the heart of the matter,” Judge Ellis said.
“Judge, we’ve been at the heart…” Andres said.
“Just listen to me!” Judge Ellis said.
It seemed to settle, but again Ellis pressured Andres to move on, “We Need to focus sharply,” he said when Andres asked about Gates work overseas, telling Andres, “Next question,” Andres tried to argue only for the Judge to say again, “next question.” Andres moved on.
After testimony concluded for the day and the jurors had left, Andres and Judge Ellis had more words.
Judge Ellis feels Andres is asking, “unnecessary questions,” about the motives of, “billionaires involved in politics in Ukraine.”
After words were exchanged over facial expressions, Andres explained, “These people are not like any Americans,” Andres said dismissing the comparison between Russian billionaires and rich American’s, like George Soros and the Koch brothers, “These people are oligarchs, and that means they control a segment of the economy based on the government’s allowing them to do that,” the judge reportedly laughed and told Andres, “That makes it even clearer to me that it doesn’t have anything to do with the allegations in this case. It throws dirt on these people. They may deserve it; I don’t know and I don’t care.” It’s irrelevant, the judge said, to whether Manafort reported and paid taxes on the money they paid him.”
court is expected to resume at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.