Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Judge in Manafort trial concedes mistake after berating Mueller’s prosecutors

Judge in Manafort trial concedes mistake after berating Mueller’s prosecutors

Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller also got a rare - and narrow - acknowledgment from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III that he likely erred when he angrily confronted them a day earlier over whether he had allowed a witness to watch the trial.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano expressed his displeasure with the judge presiding over Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial in Virginia by telling him to stop making this about him.

It's unclear whether Ellis was only apologizing for the mixup with the IRS agent.

"That's really beyond the pale for the judge", Litman said of the exchange, which took place during cross-examination, in front of the jury.

On Thursday morning, Mueller's team requested that Ellis issue a "curative instruction" to the jury, saying he has "mistakenly faulted" the prosecution. Defence lawyers have made blaming Gates, Manafort's right-hand man for a decade, a key plank of their defence. Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the US government. Trump himself has closely watched Manafort's trial as he continues to fume publicly about Mueller's investigation.

Melinda James, a mortgage loan assistant at Citizens Bank, told jurors how Manafort obtained a $3.4 million cash-out refinance in 2016 on a property he owned in Lower Manhattan.

Downing accused Gates of using the funds he admitted to stealing from Manafort to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included a London apartment and travel funds to finance one of his extramarital affairs.

Paul Manafort was concerned after a 2014 Federal Bureau of Investigation interview that one of the companies used to pay the former Trump campaign chairman for his Ukrainian political consulting work wasn't "clean".

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.

But Downing wasn't able to re-ask Gates about four extramarital affairs.

Gates pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February and agreed to cooperate with the government.

"The Ukrainians", Gates said, adding a layer to his statement Tuesday that he had stolen "Mr. Manafort's money".

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In fact, his name was barely mentioned in the first five days of the tax and bank fraud case brought against his former campaign chairman.

She said Manafort's passport was used to open many of them in USA dollars, euros and British pounds. "I made a mistake".

"Yes, because I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates replied.

Prosecutors summoned Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme.

"On Wednesday, Ellis was at it again, dressing down prosecutors after learning that an IRS agent they called to the stand as an expert witness had been in the courtroom for the entire trial", writes Politico.

Gates testified this week that he and Manafort committed crimes together.

Ellis has repeatedly tussled with prosecutors, interrupting them and pressuring them to hurry through their case.

But on Wednesday, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing seemed to accuse Gates of having affairs with multiple individuals, asking Gates whether he disclosed four affairs to the special counsel's office.

Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too.

Magionos testified that she reviewed 31 accounts tied to Manafort in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom, and Manafort was listed as the beneficial owner on at least some of them.

In one exchange published in court Wednesday, Manafort instructs his Cypriot lawyer, Kypros Chrysostomides - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because, according to Gates, his name is hard to spell and pronounce - to transfer money from the Manafort-controlled Leviathan Ltd.

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