'These Robes Make Me Human': Manafort Judge Apologizes to Prosecutors for Behavior

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

Based on the witnesses prosecutors have said they intend to call, Thursday will focus on the bank fraud they say he turned to after his Ukraine political work dried up.

Manafort, the high-powered political consultant, is facing 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty.

Manafort, 69, is the first defendant to go to court to fight charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort's accountant was asked about a purported $10 million loan from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Gates spent Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday morning corroborating prosecutors' version of events; the government's attorneys say Gates and Manafort used offshore bank accounts and wire transfers to hide money from the IRS as to avoid paying taxes.

The prosecution's case against Manafort doesn't rest exclusively on Gates.

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the USA tax authorities. But prosecutors said they had previously received Ellis's approval to have Welch in the courtroom, something transcripts confirmed, according to Politico.

Litman said he believed the indictment was hard to put together - "but once put together, a pretty straightforward case to prove".

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 made a decision to boost his boss' personal income over a period of several years.

As Manafort came under pressure to pay his bills, he was forced to seek loans, the court heard. Calk, the founder and CEO of The Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, 300 N. Elizabeth, and two employees, Dennis Raico and James Brennan, could play key roles in the trial.

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

"I do somehow think he has gotten his back up personally about Greg Andres".

Under questioning, Gates said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate.

At times, Ellis has crossed lines, Litman said.

Manafort and Gates were the first two individuals indicted in Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The prosecution has said it expected to wrap up its case by week's end.

Ellis encouraged both the prosecution and the defense to not try his patience with unnecessary objections or other delays. "Right now, it seems clear that it's the prosecution that should be specifically requesting that instruction from the judge in advance, as Judge Ellis has had some unusually cutting words for the prosecutors in this case".

After saying Monday that he committed crimes with Manafort, including concealing offshore accounts to avoid reporting them to the US government at tax time and claiming false income to get loans, Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing asked the witness, "This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?"

Manafort is the first person to be tried on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Prosecutors objected and Gates never answered the question. However, Gates also said the agents did not ask about tax returns and "the majority of the Cypriot accounts were closed" at the stage. And he lied to special counsel investigators after striking a plea agreement with them.

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