The Latest: Manafort judge jokes about wanting speedier case
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Paul Manafort’s trial (all times local):
The judge in Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial is joking about his efforts to speed up the prosecution’s presentation of its case.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III says that judges should be patient but “they made a mistake” when the Senate confirmed him to the bench.
Ellis encouraged both the prosecution and the defense to not try his patience with unnecessary objections or other delays.
He made the comment after he haggled with the attorneys for 20 minutes over the number and type of charts prosecutors could present during the testimony of an FBI forensic accountant.
Ellis has repeatedly pushed prosecutors to whittle down their case to save time.
He’s also had several heated exchanges with the attorneys from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Rick Gates has finished his testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss, Paul Manafort, after one last effort by defense lawyers to erode his credibility.
Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing tried to confront Gates over whether he had engaged in four extra-marital affairs and failed to disclose them to prosecutors before becoming a witness for the government. Gates had testified earlier in the trial about one extra-marital affair.
But after a lengthy conference between lawyers before U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III, Downing asked Gates only about the time span of his “secret life.”
Gates replied that “I made many mistakes over many years” before stepping down from the witness stand.
10: 45 a.m.
Paul Manafort was concerned after a 2014 FBI interview that one of the companies used to pay the former Trump campaign chairman for his Ukrainian political consulting work wasn’t “clean.”
That’s what longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates told jurors on his third day of testimony in his former boss’s financial fraud trial.
Gates says that Manafort asked him to meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen involved in paying him millions of dollars to find out if one of the shell companies used to pay him was a “clean entity.”
Gates says Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads up about the FBI’s interest in the offshore accounts as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The star witness in Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial says the former Trump campaign chairman told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the FBI.
Rick Gates says that he told FBI agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.
Gates made the statement under cross examination by Manafort attorney Kevin Downing.
The interview related to an FBI investigation that sought to recover assets looted from the Ukrainian government under the rule of former President Viktor Yanukovych.
Prosecutors have noted that Gates and Manafort were not the targets of the investigation at the time of the interview.
The questioning of Paul Manafort’s protege during the political consultant’s financial fraud trial has turned confrontational and personal, focusing on Rick Gates’ own crimes as well as an extramarital affair and a plea agreement.
Gates faces more bruising cross-examination on Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort is accused of overseeing an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme, and Gates has offered a first-hand account of its workings.
In testimony Tuesday, Gates acknowledged embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and carrying on an extramarital affair.
A Manafort lawyer has accused the government’s star witness of being immersed in “so many lies” that he can’t even remember them all.
Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too.