Forensic Accountant Next Up in Manafort Trial as Gates Ends Testimony


Forensic Accountant Next Up in Manafort Trial as Gates Ends Testimony

He admitted to committing fraud on a massive scale and extorting money from Manafort, along with assisting his former boss in filing false tax returns and bank fraud.

But when Downing tried to question Gates on Tuesday about what the special counsel team had asked him about the Trump campaign, Andres objected. Gates, a married father of four, had testified he used his firm's money to carry on the affair.

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.

Magionos also walked jurors through charts breaking down the movement of Cyprus money to specific vendors and for use in a series of NY real estate transactions. Several jurors could be seen busily jotting down notes as Magionos spoke.

Cindy Laporta, a tax accountant for Manafort, testified Monday under immunity that she helped file falsified bank loan applications for him even though she knew they were inaccurate.

Thursday's testimony was devoid of some of the drama from the last few days, when Gates was confronted about having embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and was forced to admit on the witness stand to an extramarital affair. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Gates admitted to cheating on his wife about 10 years ago, but denied using company money to fund his affair, even as Downing sarcastically noted the apartment Gates kept in the United Kingdom: "A flat?"

"The loan was way over the maximum" for an investment property rather than a home, she said.

Manafort closed his Bank of Cyprus accounts in 2013 and transferred the money directly to accounts at Hellenic Bank, Magionos said.

Prosecutors sought to soften the blow of the cross-examination by asking Gates to acknowledge his own crimes, including a lie to Mueller's team in February. He said of Manafort: "I believe he understood his name would not be represented, nor would mine".

Andres put it to him: "As you sit here today, do you have any doubt that if you lie, the special counsel's office will rip up your plea agreement?" "When I exclude witnesses I mean everybody, unless I make a special exception". "So don't try my patience, either of you".

Melinda James, a mortgage assistant at Citizens Bank, testified Thursday that Manafort provided incorrect information in applying for a $3.4 million loan on a Manhattan condominium that was granted on March 4, 2016.

Gates served as a deputy for Manafort's political consulting business, and then as his deputy on the Trump campaign in 2016.

"I don't think so", Seferian said.

The judge's comments were in response to a written filing by prosecutors arguing that Ellis should instruct the jury that he made an error in admonishing them during the Wednesday testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch.

After about five minutes, the judge and lawyers returned to their positions, and Downing appeared to have lost the battle.

Emphasizing Gates's infidelity is a part of the defense's attempt to puncture his credibility and call into question the crimes he's accusing Manafort of committing. Downing had made his point.

"I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said in response to a question from Downing about his trustworthiness. But she said the dressing downs are shaping how the jury views the prosecutors and, by extension, their case.

After questioning Gates for two hours on Tuesday, Downing finished in less than 10 minutes on Wednesday.

After wrapping up the tax portion of their case, prosecutors have moved on to bankers who were involved in extending Manafort loans during his scramble to generate cash in 2015 and 2016 after work dried up following a loss of business in Ukraine. He also asked Gates about his initial admission of the affair in London.

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

"Did he fire you?"

"Because I don't want to get into trouble for some facial expression", Mr. Andres said.

In detailed testimony, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Trump's presidential campaign.



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