Even before Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie was sworn in July 30, he discovered what his predecessor, David Shulkin, had known: The real power at the VA resides at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's private club in Florida, wielded by a triumvirate of Mar-a-Lago members led by Ike Perlmutter, the nearly comically reclusive CEO of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac Arnsdorf reports at ProPublica. They say his outburst prejudiced the jury by suggesting they had acted improperly.
Possible embezzlement of millions Manafort's attorneys went on the attack against Gates on Monday, alleging that Gates told accountants to falsify Manafort's tax returns because Gates was trying to cover up the fact that he had "embezzled millions of dollars" from their firm.
She identified Manafort as the person in control of the 31 foreign bank accounts.
Prosecutor Greg Andres addressed the defense lawyer's questions about whether the special counsel's office had coached Gates on how to testify.
Defense attorney Kevin Downing had asked Gates, "Were you interviewed on several occasions about your time at the Trump campaign?" "Mr Manafort had the same path". They also need to prove he did so with intent and not by mistake.
Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat. And on Wednesday, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant said Manafort hid more than 30 offshore accounts in three types of currencies from the IRS.
The case is the first that Mueller's team has brought to court as part of its investigation into Russian election interference in 2016. Referring to Manafort's pretrial confinement, Trump asked whether Manafort was being treated worse than Al Capone.
Gates, who also worked on Trump's campaign, is the star witness against Manafort.
Rick Gates, under cross examination at the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of his former boss Paul Manafort, admitted that he had "another relationship" involving first-class flights and luxury hotels, but denied these were funded with money embezzled from Manafort.
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Defence lawyers saw an opening to undermine his testimony by painting him as a liar and a philanderer, getting him to acknowledge an extramarital affair and reminding jurors how he had lied to Mueller's team while working out a plea deal for himself.
The veteran Republican operative is not on trial for anything he did while serving for three months in 2016 as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign.
The testimony, stretching across three days, created an extraordinary courtroom showdown between the two former Trump campaign aides who were indicted together.
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. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.
Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents.
Laporta said Manafort provided no documentation to back up the claim.
In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income.
He also said Manafort had asked him to disguise income as loans.
"There are not tears in my eyes, judge", Andres responded. Prosecutors allege Manafort used various ways to hide his income, including wiring money from Ukraine to the United States via a bank in Cyprus and listing it as a loan, and laundering almost $1 million through the purchases of Oriental rugs.