The Latest: Prosecutors ask judge to seal part of discussion
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Paul Manafort (all times local):
Prosecutors in Paul Manafort’s trial are asking a federal judge to seal portions of a discussion at the bench because it reveals details of an ongoing investigation.
Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller say in a court filing that “substantive evidence” of the investigation was discussed out of earshot of the jury or the public during the testimony of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates.
Prosecutors say the conference involved Manafort’s attorneys attempting to pursue a line of questioning with Gates. The filing doesn’t identify the line of questioning, but one bench conference during Gates’ testimony was prompted by Manafort lawyers asking whether he had spoken to Mueller about his work on the Trump campaign.
Mueller is investigating Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Trump associates.
Prosecutors have shown jurors an email they say suggests Paul Manafort was intentionally deceiving a bank by describing a New York City property as owner-occupied instead of a rental.
The email came up during the eighth day of the former Trump campaign chairman’s financial fraud trial.
In the message, Manafort tells his then-son-in-law that an appraiser wants to visit the property. Manafort says to remember that the appraiser believes the couple lives at the property. A bank official testified earlier that she had found the property listed as a rental on a website.
Manafort is accused of making false statements to obtain millions of dollars in loans. Prosecutors also say he claim he didn’t have a mortgage on a property when he did.
Prosecutors are contending that Paul Manafort lied to a bank to obtain millions of dollars in loans on New York City properties.
Melinda James, a Citizens Bank mortgage loan assistant, is testifying in the financial fraud trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.
She says Manafort had told the bank that one of the properties would be used as a second residence, but she found it listed as a rental on a real estate website.
She says in another instance, Manafort maintained that there were no mortgages on a separate New York property when there actually were.
James’ testimony comes after prosecutors presented days of evidence supporting the tax evasion charges against Manafort. They are now presenting witnesses related to the bank fraud charges against him.
The federal judge overseeing the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort is expressing contrition a day after angrily confronting prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller in front of the jury.
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.
But Ellis is acknowledging to jurors that he went overboard when criticizing prosecutors for allowing an expert witness to remain in the courtroom during the trial. Ellis says he was likely in error and jurors should “put aside” his criticism.
The judge’s comments come after prosecutors said in a written filing that Ellis had authorized Welch to watch the trial and the reprimand could have prejudiced the jury.
Prosecutors in Paul Manafort’s trial say the judge incorrectly admonished them in front of the jury and they want him to correct the error.
Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office say in a written filing that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III was wrong to scold them on Wednesday for allowing an expert witness to remain in the courtroom during the trial.
Ellis had erupted on the prosecutors during the testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch, saying he hadn’t authorized Welch to watch the trial. Witnesses are usually excluded from watching unless allowed by the judge.
Prosecutors attached a transcript showing that in fact Ellis had approved the request a week before. They say his outburst prejudiced the jury by suggesting they had acted improperly.
The cross-examination of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s protégé ended after the defense renewed its attack on Rick Gates’ credibility.
In three days of testimony, Gates acknowledged cheating on his wife, stealing from Manafort and initially lying to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian election meddling.
Following Gates’ testimony, prosecutors resumed trying to make their case for financial fraud by Manafort through documentary evidence to demonstrate his control of offshore bank accounts containing millions of dollars not reported to the IRS as required by U.S. law.
An IRS agent, Michael Welch, testified that Manafort didn’t report at least $16 million on his tax returns between 2010 and 2014. He also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years.