Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs

Cheryl Sanders
August 9, 2018

While Gates and others have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and legal experts say he may be holding out hopes of a pardon from Trump.

After Downing asked Gates Wednesday whether he had multiple affairs, Judge T.S. Ellis had a private conversation, out of earshot of the jury.

Check back for updates on this developing story and read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Manafort is accused of committing bank and tax fraud by hiding political consultant income he earned in Ukraine from the Internal Revenue Service.

Gates, also a former Trump campaign aide, has claimed during three days of evidence that he both stole for and stole from Manafort, who denies 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. Laporta was given immunity from prosecution for her testimony.

Now the trial will likely move into gritty tales of bank fraud. The income and the accounts, however, were not reported.

FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos walked jurors through her special counsel-ordained investigation that revealed how Manafort purchased luxury goods back in the US through foreign bank accounts.


Morgan Magionos told jurors Wednesday that bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates.

A man prosecutors say has ties to Russian intelligence was also among the beneficial owners of some of the companies. The man, Konstantin Kilimnik, is charged along with Manafort with witness tampering in a separate case. Gates was asked about 11 Cypriot accounts, and he testified that they were all owned by Ukrainian businessmen.

Until the trial for Paul Manafort started, Andrew Weissmann had been one of the most prominent members of the prosecution team. They also need to prove he did so with intent and not by mistake.

Gates struggled so badly to give a straight answer that eventually Judge T S Ellis III was forced to intervene.

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant.

Gates admitted during testimony on Monday to embezzling money from Manafort.

When it was his turn to question Gates, defense attorney Kevin Downing went on the offensive, pressing him on what amount of time he would have expected to face in prison had he not agreed to cooperate with the government.


Perhaps the Gates saga could boil down to one exchange about crime and consequences, and the decision he had made to turn on Manafort.

Gates had testified about one five-month affair with a paramour in London almost a decade ago, but had never been directly questioned on the stand about whether he'd had any other sexual relationships.

But the defense team has taken on the the daunting task of convincing jurors that Gates, who was in constant communication with Manafort and carrying out his wishes, is an unreliable witness who had simply gone rogue and independently chose to boost his boss' personal income over a period of several years.

"This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?" asked Downing.

Mr Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied. "You told me you were on top of this", he wrote Gates in April 2015.

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. Downing had said he wanted to ask the question because it spoke to whether Gates had lied to Mueller's office, and whether Gates' plea agreement would still be valid.

Downing on Tuesday spent several hours firing questions at Gates to impugn his credibility and paint him as a liar, asking about everything from his extramarital affair in London and funds he embezzled from Manafort, to questions on whether he may have crossed the line by submitting personal expenses when he worked for Trump's inaugural committee. He challenged the witness: "Have they [the special counsel's office] confronted you with so many lies you can't remember any of it?"


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