Judge in Manafort trial concedes mistake after berating Mueller’s prosecutors

Frustrated Manafort emailed Gates WTF

Bank records were put on display during the eighth day of the trial.

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 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.

He also accused the special counsel of having unfettered power, something he sought to cure by limiting prosecutors' references to Mr. Trump or Russian collusion in the Manafort case.

That's important to prosecutors, who need to not only prove Manafort skimped on paying millions of dollars in taxes.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates by pressing him on his own lies to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators, an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss.

But that changed Tuesday during a full day of testimony by Rick Gates, the prosecution's star witness and another former member of the campaign.

Mr Gates testified he and Mr Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.

In a private conference on Monday, as former Manafort business partner-turned-government witness Richard Gates testified, prosecutor Greg Andres complained that Judge Ellis had blocked him from asking essential questions.

Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated.

Manafort also asserted he did not have a mortgage on a different NY property, even though he actually did, James said.

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She identified Manafort as the person in control of the 31 foreign bank accounts.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is not pleased with how the judge in the Paul Manafort trial has conducted himself.

"As a concession to the shortness of life, we need to get it done", Ellis said, after Andres implored him to allow the prosecutors to show the jury documents an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent reviewed. "Pls (sic) make the five transfers listed below from the Leviathan account and confirm to me when completed", Manafort wrote.

Prosecutors had reminded Ellis following his scolding in front of the jury they had discussed allowing IRS revenue agent Michael Welch to sit in the courtroom. 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.

The prosecution has said it expected to wrap up its case by week's end.

Melinda James, a mortgage assistant at Citizens Bank, testified Thursday that Manafort provided incorrect information in applying for a $3.4 million loan on a Manhattan condominium that was granted on March 4, 2016. 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.

Ellis told the jury Thursday that he was "probably wrong" in his belief Wednesday that he had told prosecutors none of their witnesses would be allowed to observe the trial. "I thought he was needlessly evasive and argumentative", said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney in MI who has been watching the trial and said she observed jurors reacting with negative body language as he testified.

Gates responded yes. "I made many mistakes over many years", he said.

Neither Manafort nor Gates was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the special counsel continues to investigate Russian election interference and any ties to associates of the president.

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