Napolitano: Judge in Manafort Trial Showing an 'Extraordinary Bias' Against the Government

Napolitano: Judge in Manafort Trial Showing an 'Extraordinary Bias' Against the Government

Napolitano: Judge in Manafort Trial Showing an 'Extraordinary Bias' Against the Government

Mr Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied. Prosecutors objected and Gates never answered the question.

The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess.

The last witness prosecutors called Wednesday before running out of time was Darin Evenson, who works at Airbnb according to his LinkedIn profile.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign.

An FBI forensic accountant is telling the jury in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial how she traced millions of dollars of payments for mortgages, home improvements and expensive cars, rugs and clothes back to his hidden foreign bank accounts.

Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing tried to confront Gates over whether he had engaged in four extra-marital affairs and failed to disclose them to prosecutors before becoming a witness for the government. And after Rick Gates finished giving his close-up angle on Manafort's financial doings, the prosecution zoomed out to put the financial charges all into context. "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.

Gates added that Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads-up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the US government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Moreover, Manafort remains a central figure in the broader inquiry into the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia, including a 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Russians promised "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and his role in watering down the 2016 Republican Party platform position on Ukraine.

"The Ukrainians", Gates said, adding a layer to his statement Tuesday that he had stolen "Mr. Manafort's money".

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Mr Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to co-operate in Mr Mueller's investigation of Mr Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea.

Mr Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, has indicted more than 30 people - including 26 Russians - in connection with his probe into whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to help get the real estate tycoon elected. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

On Tuesday, Downing asked how the jury could believe Gates "after all the lies you told and fraud you committed".

Gates said he and Manafort turned to a Cypriot lawyer, whom he referred to in court as "Dr K", who set up bank accounts and shell companies on Manafort's behalf and "handled everything".

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

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans.

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. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.

Earlier on Wednesday, Manafort's protégé Rick Gates wrapped up his three days of testimony after admitting he lied, committed crimes with Manafort, stole money from his boss and cheated on his wife.

When Yanukovych lost power, Gates testified that "decreased the income stream" significantly for Manafort, and his financial situation "substantially decreased" from prior years.

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