07 August 2018

Bummer of a Birthmark, Paul

We've had a 2nd day of testimony by Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's former partner and protege, and it ain't pretty.

He testified that he conspired to break the law with Paul Manafort, AND he embezzled from Paul Manafort.

Sharper than a serpent's tooth, neh?
Rick Gates, the star witness in Paul Manafort’s fraud trial, admitted that he stole money from his former boss to pay for an extramarital affair, lied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and may have submitted false expenses to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.

But even under two hours of withering cross-examination, Gates stuck to his basic account, insisting that he’s telling the truth now about how he helped Manafort hide millions of dollars from U.S. tax authorities and lie to banks to obtain loans.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s prosecutors, has testified over two days, detailing his criminal conduct in helping Manafort hide the money he made as a political consultant in Ukraine. He said he lied to Manafort’s accountants and bookkeepers, used offshore accounts in Cyprus to move millions of dollars for him, and fabricated several documents to deceive banks when his boss was drowning in debt.

Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing mocked and belittled Gates, browbeat and embarrassed him, and branded him repeatedly as a liar unworthy of the jury’s trust and respect. Gates wobbled in the first hour and appeared uncertain, but he regained his footing in the last hour of questioning.

“I’m here to tell the truth,’’ Gates said. “I’m taking responsibility for my actions. Mr. Manafort had the same path. I’m here. I’ve accepted the responsibility, and I’m trying to change.’’

Downing began undermining Gates’s credibility in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, even as he faces the arduous task of overcoming a raft of emails and other documents that suggest Manafort’s guilt.

Downing suggested that Gates stole $3 million through 40 wire transfers from Manafort’s accounts in Cyprus. Gates admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said Manafort authorized some of the transactions, although he couldn’t identify which ones. The question of just how much Gates stole from the brilliant political strategist who initially hired him as an intern out of college was left unresolved.
Even with a nut job as a judge,  U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has a long history of eccentric behavior, it seems to me that Manafort is, "Attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis." (Screwed)


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