Zoe Tillman Profile picture
Aug 8, 2018 32 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Day 7: The cross examination of Rick Gates continues -- Manafort's lawyer estimated yesterday he'd need about an hour today. And then? Re-direct by prosecutors. And then? We don't know, the govt hasn't said who's after Gates. On all the news yesterday: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Judge taking a short recess. Rick Gates finished his testimony. Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing asked about an interview Gates did with the FBI in 2014 (re: Ukrainian govt money) — Gates said he told the FBI about the existence of Manafort biz offshore accounts
Gates also said during cross that when he discussed the FBI interview with Manafort, Manafort told him to be "open" and provide info requested. Later, govt asked Gates if they were under investigation at the time, and Gates said he didn't think so. Was the IRS there? No, he said
Downing asked Gates if he was aware that Manafort's net worth in 2015/2016 was ~$20 million. Gates said he didn't know all the details about Manafort's personal assets. When pressed, he said he'd estimate it more in the $6-$10 million range
On redirect, the govt went over the terms of Gates' plea deal, incl. the requirement that he tell the truth. Prosecutor asked if Gates had any doubt that if he lied, the special counsel's office would "rip up your plea agreement?" Gates replied: "No doubt at all."
Downing picked up that exchange during his redirect of Gates. Downing asked Gates about his admission yesterday about an extramarital affair. Did Gates recall telling the govt he had *four* affairs? Govt objected. Downing said it went to his truthfulness. They went to the bench.
After the bench discussion, Downing did not ask again about four affairs. Instead, he asked Gates if his "secret life" spanned the years he was accused of embezzling. Gates said, "I've made many mistakes" over the years. Ellis told him to answer directly. Yes, he said.
Circling back to the govt's direct of Gates, prosecutor Greg Andres asked him how the govt knew that Gates had embezzled money from Manafort (by submitting phony expense reports for reimbursement). Gates said he told the government about that.
The govt again had Gates go over the names of accounts that he said Manafort controlled in Cyprus and contained Manafort income that wasn't reported to the US government. There was another brief dispute about $ that Gates said was legit bonuses, and Downing said was stolen
Up next: FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos, who the govt says did a lot of the work tracking money as it flowed from Ukraine, to Cyprus, to the United States. There is a dispute Ellis will have to rule on about whether she can read emails Manafort wrote into the record
We're out for lunch. Re: the fight over what the FBI accountant could say on the stand: Judge said she can read emails that Manafort wrote that she used in her work, but not others. Charts summarizing data are okay, as long as they're not argumentative
Judge asked why more of the info the govt wanted to introduce via the FBI analyst couldn't be summarized further. Prosecutor said it was important to show how exactly she did her work, and to document the flow of money. Judge said okay, but left door open to specific objections
The judge again expressed some frustration with the pace of things today, and urged the lawyers to try to work out objections before the jury comes back. "Judges should be patient. They made a mistake when they confirmed me. I'm not very patient, so don't try my patience."
Then, FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos took the stand. She explained that she used bank records and other financial documents to trace money from Ukraine --> to bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the UK --> to US accounts and vendors
We saw and heard about the most direct evidence to date to support allegations that Manafort did, in fact, control the overseas accounts. Magionos testified about bank records that listed Manafort, and in some cases Gates, as the beneficial owner of the various accounts
And in some of the docs the analyst said were part of the process of opening offshore accounts, the jury saw copies of a page from Paul Manafort's passport
The jury then heard a stipulation (agreement between the parties) that when Manafort's company produced docs per a subpoena, it included a statement (from Manafort's lawyer, per an earlier proceeding,but the jury didn't hear that) saying Gates had no control over the its accounts
Why does that matter? Recall that a big part of Manafort's defense is blaming Gates for problems with Manafort's finances. During cross-x of other witnesses, Manafort's lawyers have tried to elicit info about Gates' unreliability (not to mention his admitted theft from Manafort)
When we return from lunch: The govt said it estimated approx. another hour of direct questioning of the FBI forensic accountant, and then we'll hear any cross-examination by Manafort's lawyers
Quick p.m. break. Short version: We got a lot of *very significant numbers* — summaries of the millions of dollars traced by an FBI analyst between overseas accounts she determined were controlled by or otherwise associated w/ Manafort and US vendors, or for real estate purchases
Before I get into the #s, here is why this all matters: The govt contends it goes to two allegations — 1. That Manafort controlled overseas accounts he didn't report, and 2. That all these transactions show he was making a lot more money than he was reporting as income to the IRS
From 2010 to 2014, the FBI analyst testified that her review of wire transfers and bank records showed that more than $15 million went from overseas accounts controlled by/associated with Manafort to US vendors or to buy real estate
From 2010 to 2014, the FBI analyst testified that her review of the overseas accounts at issue in this case showed they had aggregate annual values of the following: 2010: $5.4M; 2011: $8.3M; 2012: $25M; 2013: $18M; 2014: $2.7M
From 2010 to 2013 (not 2014), the FBI analyst testified that ~$65M from accounts associated with Ukraine (she identified at least one account as being controlled by a Ukrainian businessman) went into the alleged Manafort overseas accounts at issue in this case
The jury saw several emails from Manafort asking for wire transfers from the overseas accounts. He refers to them repeatedly as "my" accounts
Up next: Cross examination of the FBI analyst, and then any re-direct from the government. If they finish with this witness, we haven't been told who might be called next.
Done for the day. More in a bit, but a few things since the break:
- Cross of the FBI analyst — Manafort's lawyer asked if "Paul Manafort" signatures on docs looked different. Analyst said yes, in some ways. She said she didn't know first-hand if he actually signed all the docs
- On redirect, govt asked the FBI analyst if signatures within a single doc that the defense presented as having a legit Manafort signature looked different. Analyst said she thought they did — implication appeared to be, he doesn't always sign the same way
- We heard from an IRS audit agent who reviewed financial docs and emails, and prepared summaries about how much money Manafort got from Ukraine work, what he spent from foreign accounts, what he reported in his taxes, and what the agent thought Manafort *should* have reported
- I'll have more on the IRS agent's testimony later. At the conclusion of today's proceedings, the govt said they had 8 witnesses left, and still expected to finish presenting their case in chief by the end of Friday
Day 7: Here Are The Documents Prosecutors Say Show Paul Manafort Lied On His Taxes buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
What is the jury seeing all day in Paul Manafort's trial? Breaking down some of the key documents introduced today as prosecutors try to show the jury how they followed the money buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…

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More from @ZoeTillman

Oct 1, 2018
A deep dive: How #SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh's partisan jabs last week raise ethics questions that could follow him to the Supreme Court (or back to the DC Circuit, if his nomination fails) buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Kavanaugh attacked Senate Dems, the Clintons, and "left-wing" groups, raising Qs going forward about whether and when he'll face recusal requests — a number of groups suing the Trump admin have opposed him (ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, etc.) buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
We're aware of at least two ethics complaints against Kavanaugh, one about his response to the sexual assault allegations. Chief Judge Merrick Garland would typically handle those — we're waiting to see if Garland asks to have them sent to another circuit buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Read 5 tweets
Sep 27, 2018
Today's hearing for #SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford is set to start at 10am. You can watch live here: judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/nomin…
Senators will get five minutes to question each witness, which they can cede to staff counsel. From the committee on logistics:
Make sure to follow @pdmcleod, who is in the hearing room this morning. And check in here: buzzfeednews.com/article/buzzfe… for updates
Senate Republicans have brought in Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to handle Qs from their side for Kavanaugh and Ford: buzzfeednews.com/article/claudi… Notwithstanding Mitchell's role and the rhetoric about everyone having their "day in court," I can assure you this nothing like court
Read 49 tweets
Sep 25, 2018
Remember when the owners of a DC wine bar sued Trump's DC hotel, claiming it had an unfair and unlawful advantage in the market once Trump became president? buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil… A judge is hearing arguments soon on Trump's motion to dismiss the case. Stay tuned.
Arguments just finished on Trump and his hotel's motions to dismiss an unfair competition lawsuit filed by the owners of a DC wine bar. The main argument was that Trump should be immune against private lawsuits like this that are related to his duties as president
Lawyer for the plaintiffs (Cork Wine Bar) argued that this isn't about Trump's official actions — it's just about the unfair advantage his hotel got by virtue of him *becoming* president, which is separate from litigation over what he *does* as president
Read 9 tweets
Sep 18, 2018
A brief digression from all the Kavanaugh news to talk about a report released today by the DOJ inspector general's office about how the Bureau of Prisons manages female inmates. Here's the report: oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/e…
The conclusion: "Overall, we concluded that BOP has not been strategic in its management of female inmates." BOP only recently took steps to review its own progress following a manual for how to manage female inmates, and didn't require special training for national exec staff
Getting into the details, the report focused on issues with trauma treatment (long wait lists at some prisons), underuse of programs for pregnant inmates, and lack of clear policies re: how prisons should handle the distribution of feminine hygiene products
Read 6 tweets
Sep 17, 2018
Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements on 12/1/17: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil… He agreed to delay sentencing while he cooperated with Mueller's office. More than nine months later-->
Earlier in the summer, there were signs we were getting closer to sentencing in Flynn's case. In early July, the lawyers said they weren't ready yet, but asked if the court could start the process of getting a presentence report ready
That's not normally how things work, so the judge, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan held a hearing on July 10 to get more info. Sullivan wasn't the judge who did Flynn's plea hearing, so he explained he also wanted a chance to get to know the parties before sentencing
Read 4 tweets
Sep 14, 2018
BREAKING: Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is expected to enter a guilty plea. Special counsel Mueller's office just filed a new criminal information, a type of charging document that usually means there's a plea deal buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
NEW: The court just changed Manafort's upcoming 11 a.m. hearing from a "pretrial conference" to an "arraignment and plea agreement hearing." Story: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Waiting in the hall to go in for Manafort's 11 a.m. plea agreement hearing, and a whole crew from Mueller's office just showed up: Weissmann, Andres, Rhee, Prelogar, Dreeben, Jed, Van Grack, and EDVA AUSA Asonye. Check back for updates, story here: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Read 12 tweets

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