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

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The judge overseeing Paul Manafort's trial, who has berated prosecutors daily for perceived missteps and slights, told the jury Thursday to ignore one of his outbursts, saying he was "probably wrong".

The FBI forensic accountant, Morgan Magionos, told jurors that bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates.

He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill.

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.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents.

Gates then left the witness stand.

Manafort's defense team says it was actually Gates who committed the financial crimes, without Manafort knowing, and Manafort's lawyers also have sought to exploit the guilty plea that Gates has accepted after he was indicted on related charges.

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Television cameras are positioned outside the U.S. District Courthouse where former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is being tried on charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 7, 2018.

He scoffed at the idea Mr Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Mr Manafort.

Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated.

Mr Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied.

Paul Manafort's former accountant was sacked from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort's tax returns contained false information.

Prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates Thursday whether Mueller's team had told him how to answer questions. The prosecutors on Wednesday said Ellis had approved having them sit in, but the judge screamed at the lawyers in front of the jury, '"Don't ever do that again".

Gates said he and Manafort created an elaborate operation in Cyprus to use shell companies to secretly accept the money.

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The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade U.S. taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine. They made a mistake when they confirmed me.

The prosecution has said it expected to wrap up its case by week's end.

But while the trial has only vaguely touched on the Trump campaign directly, and the core allegations of the indictment don't have much of anything to do with Trump, the trial has raised a key unanswered question about why Manafort agreed to join the Trump campaign for free.

But in reality, Manafort rented out the Howard Street loft on Airbnb for more than a year - as an "Amazing full floor loft in SoHo" - and still had a mortgage on the Brooklyn brownstone, James said.

"No you weren't", Judge Ellis said.

Gates finished his testimony Wednesday after admitting that his secret life of cheating on his wife was more extensive than he had indicated earlier. "I'm not very patient, so don't try my patience", Ellis said.

Gates spent Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday morning corroborating prosecutors' version of events; the government's attorneys say Gates and Manafort used offshore bank accounts and wire transfers to hide money from the IRS as to avoid paying taxes.

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