Star witness Rick Gates testifies against former boss Paul Manafort
- Author: Rogelio Becker Aug 08, 2018,
Aug 08, 2018, 4:40
Here are eight of the most memorable things-from wacky and insane to downright shocking-that have occurred in the Manafort trial so far.
The jury heard testimony on Friday and Monday from accountant Cynthia Laporta, who described how Manafort and Gates doctored financial statements and backdated loans.
"Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?"
Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man", to give jurors the direct account of a co-conspirator they say carried out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and fraud scheme on behalf of his boss.
Prosecutors have introduced a bevy of exhibits and are in the process of calling several witnesses as part of their effort to paint Manafort as a tax scofflaw who failed to report money spent on luxury items - then lied to get bank loans when his foreign consulting work dried up.
In one email, Manafort wrote "WTF" and "not happy" about tax payments he was going to have to make, Gates said.
On Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis repeatedly clashed with prosecutors about the relevance of such testimony and once again urged them to speed things along.
Week 2 opened with high drama as Gates took the stand as the prosecution's star witness, and the judge continued to scold prosecutors for not hewing as closely to the script as he'd like.
The testimony is poised to pack even more drama into the courtroom than the 78 minutes Gates was on the witness stand a day earlier, as Manafort's defense team will get the chance to cross-examine Gates - and they've made clear the crux of their defense will be to blame Gates for Manafort's alleged crimes. However, they have acknowledged it in different ways.
Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him.
Rick Gates leaves a Washington courthouse in February.
Over 75 minutes, prosecutor Greg Andres posed dozens of questions about Gates's financial crimes and the ways that he worked to help Manafort hide from his financial professionals and tax authorities.
Prosecutors have accused Manafort and Gates of conspiring to hide a significant portion of the $60 million that Manafort earned through his political lobbying in the Ukraine for its then-President Viktor Yanukovych.
"If you cause a disruption, I will have you excluded!"
The case against Manafort has nothing 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 co-ordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer. Laporta said she didn't believe the loan had actually been forgiven. Andres said the donations weren't political contributions, and the people donating the money were "oligarchs"-a term Ellis had banned from the trial". Prosecutors displayed picture after picture of Manafort's extensive wardrobe, including a gaudy ostrich-skin jacket.
After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight.