Trevor Noah: Why Paul Manafort Must Be So Proud

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

Manafort, who served briefly as Trump's campaign manager in 2016, has pleaded not guilty.

Downing also ventured into territory both sides had agreed to avoid: discussion of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

The aggressive questioning was aimed at shifting blame from Manafort onto Gates, who pleaded guilty in Mueller's investigation and agreed to cooperate with investigators by testifying in the financial fraud trial.

"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 undermined another of the defense's main arguments: that Manafort did not have the time to pay attention to his day-to-day expenses and personal finances.

The transfers would usually occur when Manafort made requests for Gates to initiate them-often through a list of to-be-sent wire transfers provided by Manafort to Gates via email. U.S. District court Judge T.S. Ellis III presides. That is expected to continue on Wednesday - and then prosecutors are expected to have an opportunity to question Gates again and try to rehabilitate him.

Manafort is accused of committing tax and bank fraud with millions made through political work in Ukraine.

Mr Gates, the prosecution's star witness, recounted how he and Mr Manafort used offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while failing to declare the income to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

When Downing questioned why Gates had embezzled money from his boss, he used it as an opportunity to issue a public apology.

Asked if he got any personal benefit from Mr Manafort's falsified loan applications, Gates responded: "No, I did not". The defense moved on.

Ahead of that barrage, Gates implicated himself in a vast amount of criminal conduct on the stand, an apparent strategic decision by prosecutors as they hoped to take some of the steam out of the defense's questioning. Looking at a ledger listing almost $3 million in transactions, he was unable to say which ones were legitimate and which ones he initiated with false expense reports.

Rick Gates Set to Testify Against Ex-Boss Paul Manafort
Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him. There was no mention of President Trump or his campaign, but this trial is the first big public test for the special counsel.

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Gates on Monday admitted he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false bank statements.

Those who dealt with Manafort's taxes also testified that even though they asked Manafort whether he maintained any bank accounts overseas, he told them no. These accounts, Gates added, predated his tenure at Manafort's DMP International. The firm's director was known to Manafort and Gates as "Doctor K".

Gates pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

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. But inside the courtroom, trial proceedings had plodded along almost Trump-free.

In fact, his name was barely mentioned in the first five days of the tax and bank fraud case brought against his former campaign chairman.

"The idea of exchanging income for loans reduced his overall tax liability", Gates said.

Gates, who was working on Trump's transition team, testified that Manafort had suggested Stephen Calk as a candidate for Army secretary two weeks after Trump was elected.

In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, as he described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents at Manafort's behest as his former boss became concerned he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up.

He scoffed at the idea that Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Manafort. Trump often boasts that he hires "the best people", and the sixth day of the trial showcased two people who worked for him, one who allegedly tried to use his influence in Trump's circle to boost someone he had a sketchy financial relationship with, and another who admitted under oath that he may have stolen money from Trump's inaugural committee.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans. Oh, and he says he did it all "at the direction of Mr. Manafort". Manafort broke his stare only to review government exhibits on a small monitor in front of him.

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