Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs

Paul Manafort

Downing spent several hours on Tuesday firing questions at Gates to impugn his credibility and paint him as a liar, asking about everything from his extramarital affair in London and funds he embezzled from Manafort, to questions on whether he may have crossed the line by submitting personal expenses when he worked for Republican candidate Trump's inaugural committee.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano expressed his displeasure with the judge presiding over Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial in Virginia by telling him to stop making this about him. "I hear the list is being considered this weekend", the Washington Post reported.

Ahead of that barrage, Gates implicated himself in a vast amount of criminal conduct on the stand, an apparent strategic decision by prosecutors as they hoped to take some of the steam out of the defense's questioning. Both sides have agreed to limit discussion of the campaign to avoid prejudicing the jury, though they did permit testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the Trump election effort.

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort".

Calk spoke with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on November 16, 2016, at a Chicago business lunch, according to a letter sent by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, to Calk, CNN reported.

He testified under terms of a deal with Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who's investigating suspected collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort couldn't have followed his income "that closely" since Gates had "stolen" hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, Ellis said. "I did, to one count, your honour", he said. This was a way to decrease Manafort's taxable income, added Gates, who did not report the money to Manafort's book-keeper or accountants.

Under questioning from Downing, Gates acknowledged he had to plead guilty to false statements after lying during a February interview with federal investigators. At one point, as Gates had trouble recalling the details of his confession, Downing asked him, "Have they confronted you with so many lies that you can't even remember them?"

"I am here to tell the truth and to take responsibility for my actions".

"Those appear to be substantially different, don't they?" defense attorney Richard Westling asked Magionos, showing her Manafort's signatures on a loan application to the Bank of California and one of the foreign banking documents.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. Manafort's defence team's has tried to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates and raise doubts about his ethics and morals. He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill.

After Gates described his theft as "unauthorized transactions" instead of embezzlement, Downing prodded him to use the latter term - and Gates ultimately relented, saying, "It was embezzlement from Mr. Manafort".

Gates, who is 46 and married, admitted: "There was a period in my life, about 10 years ago, when I had a relationship, yes".

Prosecutors will likely draw Gates back to those facts and away from his own misbehavior on redirect examination.

Paul Manafort's former "right-hand man" admitted Tuesday that he embezzled from their consulting firm, engaged in fraud, lied to the special counsel, and conducted an worldwide extramarital affair.

But the defense team has taken on the the daunting task of convincing jurors that Gates, who was in constant communication with Manafort and carrying out his wishes, is an unreliable witness who had simply gone rogue and independently chose to boost his boss' personal income over a period of several years.

The lawyer, Kevin Downing, was trying to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by directing him to help hide his foreign income and to submit phony mortgage and tax documents on his behalf. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.

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