Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Mueller Says Sidebar Manafort Trial Convo Contained Evidence In 'Ongoing' Probe

Mueller Says Sidebar Manafort Trial Convo Contained Evidence In 'Ongoing' Probe

The remaining witnesses include bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts, and they're expected to dive into the gritty details of the prosecution's case on bank and mortgage fraud.

Gates has admitted he stole money from his former boss to pay for an extramarital affair, lied to Mueller and may have submitted false expenses to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee.

A U.S. Internal Revenue Service agent testified on Wednesday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is on trial on tax and bank fraud charges, had $16.5 million in unreported taxable business income between 2010 and 2014.

Manafort's conviction would undermine efforts by Trump and some Republican lawmakers to paint Mueller's inquiry as a political witch hunt, while an acquittal would be a setback for Mueller.

Throughout three days of questioning in a packed federal courtroom a half-hour south of the White House, Gates admitted to a staggering amount of criminal activity he committed both with Manafort and for his own benefit.

Banc of California executive Gary Seferian said they ultimately issued Manafort a $1 million loan based on the reported income for his political consulting firm, DMP International, that the prosecution has shown Manafort and Gates inflated from roughly $400,000 to $4.4 million. Then he suggested that Gates had not been honest. He testified that Mr. Manafort directed him not to report the existence of offshore bank accounts that prosecutors allege were used to hide millions of.

The case against Manafort has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

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Paul Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing on Wednesday asked whether longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy.

The interview was part of an FBI investigation that sought to recover assets looted from the Ukrainian government under the rule of former President Viktor Yanukovych. Gates had testified about one five-month affair with a paramour in London almost a decade ago, but had never been directly questioned on the stand about whether he'd had any other sexual relationships.

Some lawyers watching the case also noted Ellis did not rebuke defence attorney Kevin Downing on Wednesday after he asked the government's star witness Rick Gates whether he had told prosecutors about four extramarital affairs. "I was probably wrong in that", Ellis said to kick off the trial proceedings Thursday morning. "Mr. Manafort had the same path", Gates said. None of those accounts were reported to the IRS as required by US law.

Gates said he and Manafort turned to a Cypriot lawyer, whom he referred to in court as "Dr K", who set up bank accounts and shell companies on Manafort's behalf and "handled everything".

But his involvement in creating those documents and executing those transactions, they have said, did not extend beyond inking his signature at the bottom. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has repeatedly clashed in the Paul Manafort case with the Judge T.S. Ellis, who has refused to let prosecutors display photos of Manafort's luxury purchases, urged them to hurry up their questions and has even reprimanded one lawyer for being impolite and not looking at the judge while speaking to him.

Gates finished his testimony Wednesday after admitting that his secret life of cheating on his wife was more extensive than he had indicated earlier.

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