Witness recounts how Paul Manafort lied to get bank loans

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The judge overseeing the prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort opened Thursday's session with an apology of sorts, saying he'd been out of line in blasting the government's lawyers.

Paul Manafort's former accountant was sacked from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort's tax returns contained false information. In the filing, they argued that Ellis should instruct the jury that he made an error in admonishing them during the testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch.

"I'm sorry, judge, I was", the prosecutor replied. "I did, to one count, your honour", he said.

Andres sought to rehabilitate Gates with a series of rapid-fire questions about financial machinations underpinning the tax- and bank-fraud case against Manafort. It's the first trial to emerge from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any of Trump's associates conspired with those efforts, though Manafort's case is not about those issues. "I was probably wrong in that", said Ellis.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, said that in Downing's remaining hour of cross-examination on Wednesday, he needs to keep painting Gates as an unreliable person who can not be trusted. And the fact that after loaning Manafort millions of dollars Calk became an economic adviser to Trump casts doubt on Trump's famous pledge to "drain the swamp" and puncture the rampant influence peddling in Washington.

Gates admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars - $3 million, Downing claimed, but could not definitively prove - from Manafort.

The still-secret conversation occurred Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Gates' testimony against Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors, testified in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he helped Manafort falsify documents and move millions of dollars from offshore accounts that were hidden from US tax authorities.

"Do you remember telling the office of the special counsel you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?"

More broadly, this trial is a direct result of the special counsel's investigation into the Trump's campaign contacts with Russian Federation.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors, spent less than 70 minutes on the witness stand on Wednesday. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises".

But Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to cooperate in Mueller's investigation of Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea. Gates also said Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk's name for consideration as Secretary of the Army, a post he ultimately did not get. "I made a mistake".

"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort". But she said the dressing downs are shaping how the jury views the prosecutors and, by extension, their case.

Laporta also testified that she received questionable financial statements from Gates or Manafort.

In detailed testimony, Gates walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents.

During his three days of testimony, Gates laid out in detail how payments to Manafort's company from political work in Ukraine were made to bank accounts in Cyprus and the money was never reported to accountants or the Internal Revenue Service.

In one exchange published in court Wednesday, Manafort instructs his Cypriot lawyer, Kypros Chrysostomides - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because, according to Gates, his name is hard to spell and pronounce - to transfer money from the Manafort-controlled Leviathan Ltd.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign.

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