Mueller request signals Gates may still be cooperating

Mueller request signals Gates may still be cooperating

Special counsel Robert Mueller filed a formal complaint against the judge presiding over Paul Manafort's tax fraud case this week; claiming T.S. Ellis III violated protocol while ruling against the prosecution's star witness.

The prosecution produced an undated email exchange between Mr Manafort and Mr Gates which outlines the amount of tax the campaign chief might have to pay.

The topic came up as Kevin Downing, Manafort's defense attorney, hammered away at Gates' admitted habit of filing doctored expense reports in an attempt to paint Gates as self-motivated and untrustworthy.

A day earlier, Gates acknowledged having a single extramarital relationship in London while working for Manafort.

HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images Paul Manafort.

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.

"This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?" asked Downing.

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?"

Ellis had heatedly confronted prosecutor Uzo Asonye, saying he hadn't authorized Welch to watch the entirety of the trial.

HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images Rick Gates.

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On re-direct from the prosecution, Magionos agreed that two of Manafort's signatures on the same foreign bank document appeared different - implying that he didn't always sign his name the same way.

In addition, Gates has admitted to other criminal conduct.

Manafort, 69, is the first defendant to go to court to fight charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been a distraction for a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to publicly fume about Mueller's investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin.

She identified Manafort as the person in control of the 31 foreign bank accounts. During cross examination, defense attorney Downing tried to undermine Gates' credibility, noting the benefits he had gotten from his deal with the government, the fact that he made a false statement to investigators, his "scheme" to embezzle from Manafort, and even his "secret life" with a mistress.

Laporta ... said she knew what she did was "not appropriate", adding that "you can't pick and choose what's a loan and what's income".

Although the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation are not at issue in this trial, any significant blows to the government's case are likely be seized on by the president's defenders, including conservative media, to support his contention that Mueller's investigation is a "rigged witch-hunt". There have been exceptions, like when Gates said that he might have also embezzled from the Trump inauguration committee by inflating his expenses, and when he testified about how Manafort reached out to talk about securing a banker who loaned him money tickets to the inauguration and potentially a position in the administration.

Prosecutor Greg Andres addressed the defense lawyer's questions about whether the special counsel's office had coached Gates on how to testify.

Andres, the prosecutor, and the judge met in a sidebar conference with lawyers. In addition, he testified, he did not submit the required forms at Manafort's direction. He also testified that he pressed the firm's accountants to reclassify loans as income so the company could qualify for more bank loans or get favorable lending rates.

At the time he worked for Trump, jurors heard, Manafort's business in Ukraine had always been dried up, and his firm didn't have any clients.

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