Rick Gates, testifying in Manafort trial, admits to affair, London apartment


Manafort was on Trump's campaign team from March to August 2016, starting as a delegate-wrangler and serving as campaign chairman in the last three months.

FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos walked jurors through her special counsel-ordained investigation that revealed how Manafort purchased luxury goods back in the US through foreign bank accounts.

Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, is charged with 18 counts of tax and banking crimes and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Although Manafort is not on trial for anything he did while working for Trump, the case is being seen as a key test for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who brought the charges. "Mr. Manafort had the same path", Gates said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant Morgan Magionos used charts, emails from Manafort to his lawyers in Cyprus, and other corroborating documents to detail how Manafort funneled roughly $15 million from hidden offshore accounts to purchase home electronic installations, real estate, fancy clothing, such as the now-infamous $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket, and other luxuries from 2010 to 2014. He also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years.

She also confirmed that Manafort was present at the loan's closing to sign the final loan application in person, even though she sometimes communicated with Gates on details.

"Pls make the 5 transfers listed below from the Leviathan account and confirm to me when completed", he wrote in an email to the Cypriot law firm that maintained signatory control over his accounts.

Ellis and Andres continued to butt heads Wednesday, after Ellis once again reminded the prosecutors they should wrap their case quickly. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He finished his testimony Wednesday, Day 7 of the trial.

Litman said he believed the indictment was hard to put together - "but once put together, a pretty straightforward case to prove". Manafort's defense team will have a chance to offer witnesses and other evidence after the government finishes.

Using charts, emails and financial and tax records, Magionos told jurors how she traced millions of dollars back to his hidden foreign bank accounts.

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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.

Judge T.S. Ellis III said it would be up to the jury to decide if the signatures were different.

As he has repeatedly noted, President Donald Trump is not directly implicated in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial. Gates said that these loans were actually income.

Wednesday's testimony was focused on the tax fraud allegations against Paul Manafort. "I am here. I have accepted responsibility and I am trying to change". Some of the jurors respond loudly, "Yes, judge" or "Yes, your honor". Prosecutors had previously said that Manafort's interactions with Calk were the only part of the trial expected to overlap with his Trump campaign role. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade USA taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

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.

Prosecutor Greg Andres objected to the question before Gates could answer. "The secret Rick Gates?". Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong effect of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.

Attorney Kevin Downing suggested the revelation would destroy Rick Gates's plea agreement with the special counsel's office but was blocked by an instant government objection.

The question for jurors is how much that matters.