Manafort's former tax accountant fired by firm after testimony

The prosecution's star witness Rick Gates took the stand for a second day in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Manafort also falsely classified another $1.5 million in income as a loan, Welch testified - while adding that Manafort never indicated he had foreign bank accounts on his tax returns.

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.

The grand total of Manafort's payments from his offshore accounts to vendors and for properties came out to $15.5 million over the course of 2010-2014, according to Magionos.

The fraud trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort enters its eighth day as prosecutors say they plan on resting their case by the end of Friday. Gates was initially charged with Manafort but pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in February. "I'm not sure why, but there have been certain exchanges at sidebar that have seemed not all that judicious to me", he said.

Downing then asked about what he called "the secret life of Rick Gates", inquiring whether Gates kept an apartment in London and if he engaged in an extramarital relationship there. But Gates nonetheless faced aggressive questioning by Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, who at one point asked him, "After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"

The face-off between longtime business associates and former senior members of the Trump campaign drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings.

Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.


Virginia-based Kositzka, Wicks & Co. said in a statement Tuesday it was "shocked by Ms. Laporta's testimony, which clearly represents that she failed to meet the firm's high standards for professional and ethical conduct in her work for Mr. Manafort". "I am here. I have accepted responsibility and I am trying to change".

The questioning is part of the Manafort defense strategy of presenting Gates to the jury as someone who lies and can not be trusted.

"I thought it was somewhere in the range of a hundred years, your honor", Gates said. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.

The jury was reminded of the universe of vendors who've testified - the high-end suit sellers, the landscaper, the friend-turned-real-estate-agent, the general contractor - as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS representatives walked through money flowing into their legitimate businesses from Manafort's foreign accounts. So frequent were Gates's crimes that he could not answer definitively when asked if he had stolen money from the Trump inauguration committee, for which he served as deputy chairman.

Mr Gates testified he and Mr Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.

Earlier on Tuesday, the prosecution had continued to question Gates, who described how millions of dollars were allegedly funnelled from entities controlled by Ukrainian businessmen into Manafort's shell companies in Cyprus.

Gates told the court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he had met with government lawyer Greg Andres and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents 20 times and been told only to tell the truth, without any guarantee that he will be spared prison.

"I already admitted on the record that I took unauthorised funds from Mr Manafort". Prosecutors have noted that Gates and Manafort were not the targets of the investigation at the time of the interview.


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