Speaking of Ellis, the 78-year-old U.S. District Court judge overseeing the Eastern Virginia trial renewed his angry tone with prosecutors Wednesday. "There are judges like that, but that's not good for trials". Afterward, Downing dropped the Trump-related line of questioning, moving on to other topics without explanation.
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 said his outburst prejudiced the jury by suggesting they had acted improperly and could undermine Welch's testimony.
But Gates did not answer Downing's question after the prosecution objected to the relevance of the inquiry.
Defense attorney Kevin Downing had asked Gates, "Were you interviewed on several occasions about your time at the Trump campaign?"
According to a court transcript, Downing had agreed in a conference on Tuesday with the judge and prosecutors not to raise the subject with Gates, a longtime business partner of Manafort's. "You said you had a made mistake", the lawyer said.
At first, Gates merely noted that in March 2016 Manafort hired him to work for "one of the presidential candidates".
"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans". He said there were 15 secret accounts.
Gates, who pleaded guilty to charges in February and is cooperating on the possibility of a reduced sentence, has testified that he helped Manafort falsify his tax returns, lie to banks to get loans and hide foreign bank accounts.
Gates did stumble a few times on the stand. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Greg Andres, a prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team, somewhat softened the blows Manafort's attorney had inflicted during his cross examination.
But on Thursday, Ellis admitted he was wrong - at least on one point - when he criticized prosecutors for having one of their witnesses, an expert IRS agent, in the room to hear other witness testimony.
The remaining witnesses include bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts, and they're expected to dive into the gritty details of the prosecution's case on bank and mortgage fraud. "Mr. Manafort had the same path", Gates said. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.
In detailed testimony, Gates walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. He was aware that Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine, he said.
He also said Manafort had asked him to disguise income as loans. After a sidebar with the judge, Downing moved onto another topic. When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony.
Gates finally admitted that he had provided false information prior to striking a plea agreement. Gates testified that he had an extramarital affair a decade ago, and also that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort. Magionos testified that she reviewed bank records obtained through a treaty request and by issuing subpoenas to Manafort's company and HSBC.