Rick 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.
But his involvement in creating those documents and executing those transactions, they have said, did not extend beyond inking his signature at the bottom.
Gates has admitted he stole money from his former boss to pay for an extramarital affair, lied to Mueller and may have submitted false expenses to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee.
Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of Gates on Tuesday, accusing Gates of being immersed in "so many lies" he can't remember them all and demanded to know how a jury could possibly trust him.
NBC's Pete Williams also reported that prosecutors want Ellis to "explain to the jury that he was out of line when he reprimanded them over allowing an IRS agent witness to watch other testimony", according to NBC's Ken Dilanian.
Mr. Gates admitted over three days to various crimes, including some he said he committed with Mr. Manafort and others he carried out on his own.
Legal experts said the judge's criticism of the prosecution has certainly been noticed by the jury, perhaps denting the chance for prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team to sell their case that Mr. Manafort engaged in bank and tax fraud.
Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.
She said in another instance, Manafort maintained that there were no mortgages on a separate NY property when there actually were.
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"In essence, I was living beyond my means", Gates said.
She identified Manafort as the person in control of the 31 foreign bank accounts.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis granted the request, sealing the requested portions of the conversation "until the relevant aspect of the investigation is revealed publicly, if that were to occur".
Lisa Kern Griffin, who teaches law at Duke University, said many judges are harsher on the government, fearing that being seen favoring a prosecution could be the basis for a defendant's appeal.
Gates, a 46-year-old father of four, first met Manafort back when he was an intern in D.C.in the late 1990s, and later became Manafort's right-hand man as Manafort made millions from Ukrainian oligarchs boosting the country's pro-Russia party. He faces a separate trial in Washington in September on charges including conspiracy against the US and money laundering. Manafort opted for trial, while Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against his former boss. "I am here. I have accepted responsibility and I am trying to change".
Manafort is accused of filing fraudulent information to secure $16 million in loans from Calk's bank.
Within two months of securing the aforementioned $3.4 million loan from Citizens Bank in March 2016, Manafort applied for another loan - for $5.5 million - for his Brooklyn property, Citizens Bank loan officer assistant Taryn Rodriguez testified Thursday afternoon. He finished his testimony Wednesday, Day 7 of the trial.
Ellis lost his cool at the start of Special Agent Michael Welch's testimony, after the government witness said he had been in the courtroom for some of the trial.
"Judge Ellis seems to want the lawyers to try the case the way he would try the case", said Gillers.
The Airbnb employee's testimony appears to confirm one of the lies prosecutors allege Manafort told a bank as he sought money from it. Banks give more money toward properties used by their owners as residences - even second homes - than they do for rentals, and Manafort appears not to have disclosed income from the rental on his tax returns.