US judge apologises to prosecutors in former Trump aide Manafort's trial

Frustrated Manafort emailed Gates WTF

Frustrated Manafort emailed Gates WTF

Paul Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, is on the stand for the third straight day in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial as prosecutors and defense lawyers wage their battle over Gates' credibility.

Multiple bank officials said accurate information is essential for them as they decide whether to approve a loan. Melinda James, a Citizens Bank mortgage loan assistant, testified that Manafort had told the bank that the property would be used as a second residence, but she found it listed as a rental on a real estate website.

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.

He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill.

Downing wondered aloud why Gates had shown "perfect recollection" during examination by the government but was now much less precise under cross-examination by Manafort's defence. "Mr Manafort had the same path".

During his three days of testimony, Gates laid out in detail how payments to Manafort's company from political work in Ukraine were made to bank accounts in Cyprus and the money was never reported to accountants or the Internal Revenue Service.

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T.S. Ellis, the U.S. District Court judge presiding over Paul Manafort's ongoing trial, has offered a mea culpa for his critical outbursts against the case's prosecutors.

Prosecutor Greg Andres addressed the defence lawyer's questions about whether the special counsel's office had tried to coach Gates on how to testify. The firm's director was known to Manafort and Gates as "Doctor K". He also said he committed credit card and mortgage fraud, falsified a letter for a colleague involved in an investment deal and made false statements in a deposition at Manafort's direction.

Gates said he did not.

Gates also said that he did not report 15 foreign offshore bank accounts to the government.

The Reagan appointee has grumbled incessantly about prosecutors' pace in presenting evidence and questioning its witnesses - even though Mueller's team expects to rest its case roughly a week and a half ahead of schedule.

On Tuesday, Gates did connect one part of the bank fraud charges against Manafort to his role in the Trump campaign. "I am here. I have accepted responsibility and I am trying to change".

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On Thursday, a series of bank employees told jurors about discrepancies and outright falsehoods contained on Manafort's applications for millions of dollars in loans. Magionos testified that she reviewed bank records obtained through a treaty request and by issuing subpoenas to Manafort's company and HSBC.

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.

Ellis lost his cool at the start of Special Agent Michael Welch's testimony, after the government witness said he had been in the courtroom for some of the trial.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors, testified in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he helped Manafort falsify documents and move millions of dollars from offshore accounts that were hidden from USA tax authorities.

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the U.S. tax authorities.

Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, has indicted more than 30 people - including 26 Russians - in connection with his probe into whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to help get the real estate tycoon elected.

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"I was critical of counsel ... for allowing an expert to remain in the courtroom", Judge Ellis said.

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