Manafort prosecutors say judge's harsh words hurt their case

  • Manafort prosecutors say judge's harsh words hurt their case

Manafort prosecutors say judge's harsh words hurt their case

The FBI forensic accountant, Morgan Magionos, told jurors that bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates. Instead, prosecutors for Mueller have accuse Manafort of hiding at least $30 million that he earned while representing Russia's neighboring country of Ukraine and its president, Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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.

Both Manafort and Gates were indicted a year ago on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Jurors have heard testimony that Manafort transferred money from those accounts to pay for cars, custom suits, landscaping services and other luxuries.

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.

The prosecution's case against Manafort doesn't rest exclusively on Gates.

She essentially connected the dots of testimony from previous witnesses - vendors, Manafort's bookkeeper and accountants, and Gates - but did so in a way that presented direct links between one witness's part of the story and another's. But prosecutors said they had previously received Ellis's approval to have Welch in the courtroom, something transcripts confirmed, according to Politico.

Litman said he believed the indictment was hard to put together - "but once put together, a pretty straightforward case to prove".

Gates' testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years.

Judge T.S. Ellis III has subjected the prosecution team to repeated tongue-lashings over the pace of their questioning, the massive trove of their evidence and even their facial expressions during bench conferences.

In detailed testimony, Gates walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. He said of Manafort: "I believe he understood his name would not be represented, nor would mine".

At times, Ellis has crossed lines, Litman said.

Defense lawyers saw an opening to undermine his testimony by painting him as a liar and a philanderer, getting him to acknowledge an extramarital affair and reminding jurors how he had lied to Mueller's team while working out a plea deal for himself.

"The jury is very sensitive to what it perceives, correctly or not, to be the judge's view of the case", Gillers said. "I may have well been wrong".

In a final back and forth between lawyers over Gates's credibility, the focus turned to his decision to plead guilty and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which Manafort's defence have portrayed as an attempt to save his own skin.

Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing asked whether Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy.

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.

Rick Gates, the government's star witness, was also listed as an owner of several of the accounts.

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.