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Paul Manafort's Trial.

Updated 8/7/2018 7:58 AM PDT

Instead of writing summary recaps of the trial, I'm going to provide a few daily links to the live coverage.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I created a general Manafort trial recap page on the site. Go nuts.


Recaps here.

Gates about to testify in front of defense.

WaPo Manafort trial - Day 6 recaps

2:40 p.m.: Gates: Manafort wanted me to use Trump campaign job to offer lender favors

Some of the only direct references to President Trump and his campaign at the trial of Paul Manafort just occurred. Rick Gates testified that Manafort resigned as the campaign’s chairman in August 2016, but that he remained, continuing to work for the campaign.

After Trump’s election, Gates went to work for the committee organizing Trump’s inauguration.

[Rick Gates takes center stage at the Manafort trial]

Prosecutor Greg Andres showed Gates emails from Manafort, which showed that Gates’s former boss requested that Gates use his position in the Trump campaign to offer a series of favors to Stephen Calk, the founder and CEO of Federal Savings Bank, one of the banks that extended Manafort a loan in 2016.

First, Calk’s name was added to a list of national economic advisers to the campaign. Then, in November 2016, Manafort wrote Gates: “We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of the Army. I hear the list is being considered this weekend,” indicating that wanted Gates’s help getting Calk considered by the presidential transition for the Cabinet-level job.

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Another good source for recaps

NBC recaps of Manafort Trial

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller may not need Rick Gates to prove crimes against Paul Manafort.

But the appearance of Manafort’s longtime protégé in an Alexandria federal courtroom this week has made for riveting courtroom drama — turning what had been a dry case about tax and bank records into a political soal opera

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Politico recaps of Manafort trial - day 6

Politico’s Interactive charts/details of Manafort trial (very good recap!!)

Manafort trial Day 6: Gates says Manafort avoided U.S taxes after Ukraine business went south

‘WTF,’ Manafort wrote his deputy after seeing one tax bill. ‘How could I be blindsided like this?’

But in the early going, Gates said Manafort was paid for work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with funds that initially moved through Cyprus, an offshore banking haven, and later were transferred to the Grenadines in the Caribbean after a banking crisis in Cyprus in 2013.

Manafort’s defense has argued that the money changed hands in Cyprus because the benefactors wanted to keep their fingerprints off it to avoid a potential backlash in Ukraine. But Gates testified that Manafort was insistent on secrecy — at least in part — in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes.


Washington Post - Manafort trial day 7


Morgan Magionos is the FBI forensic accountant who traced Paul Manafort’s financial affairs as part of the investigation and connected the foreign bank accounts to domestic spending activity.

Magionos, a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner, reviewed documents and statements from banks in Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Britain to analyze Manafort’s overseas financial activity.

Magionos found 31 foreign bank accounts spanning 2010 to 2014 that listed Manafort, Rick Gates or Konstantin Kilimnik as the beneficial owners.

[From six homes to a city jail: Paul Manafort, who redefined lobbying, faces trial]

Magionos said she connected the overseas bank accounts to Manafort in part because pictures of his passport were included in the account opening applications.

Those accounts were closed in 2013, Magionos testified.

Judge Ellis makes a lot of demand on Prosecution - Andres re: presenting charts, keeping the information moving at a fast clip, etc. Some are saying that Judge Ellis is a bit outta control with his reprimands. See Ellis comment in response to his conduct below.

re: charts made by Prosecution and mention that a woman spent a long time creating them - money out of foreign banks to direct expenditures from Manafort.

“Look, it isn’t relevant that she spent her life doing it,” Ellis remarked, drawing laughter from those in the court.

We need to find a way to focus sharply,” the judge continued.

The exchange grew somewhat more heated.

We’ve been focused sharply for a long time,” Andres said.

Judge’s impatience

Ellis ultimately agreed to let Andres question Magionos, though he warned that Andres would be on a short leash and that Ellis would consider objections from the defense at his bench as the testimony proceeded.

Judges should be patient. They made a mistake when they confirmed me,” Ellis quipped.

It’s good to see that there is a written record of Manafort bribing Calk with the offer of a government appointment (Manafort can’t blame this on Gates). Now we need to find out if Manafort or Gates discussed this with Pence (head of Transition Team) or Trump. Mueller may already know.


Politico Day 7 Manafort Trial

Wednesday discussions centered on foreign banking issues, FBI inquiries and Gates got hit with a lot of mentions of his 3 or 4 affairs. Humiliation and destroying Gates’ credibility is the game.

Gates was on the witness stand for only about an hour Wednesday morning. His testimony began with the defense asking fewer than 10 minutes worth of additional questions following up on the more detailed and intense cross-examination Tuesday.

Downing sought to show that Manafort acted as if he had nothing to hide back in 2014 when FBI agents interviewed him and Gates about whether one of the firm’s biggest clients, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, had stashed millions of dollars in ill-gotten funds overseas.

Gates readily conceded that Manafort told him at the time to be responsive to the FBI’s inquiries.

“He indicated that we should be open and provide the information about the questions that were asked of us,” said the former Manafort aide. Gates added that Manafort agreed that it was fine to talk to the FBI about the offshore accounts in Cyprus that were used to compensate the American consultants doing political work in Ukraine.

The defense then asked a brief series of questions about Manafort’s net worth, apparently seeking to undercut prosecution suggestions that after the Ukraine work dried up, Manafort was so desperate for cash that he couldn’t pay his taxes or his American Express bills.

In fact, Manafort actually dispatched Gates to inform one of the Ukrainian oligarchs who funded the political work that the FBI had come calling, the witness said.

“He asked me to go meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen and to inform him of the FBI interview,” Gates recalled.

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Politico - Manafort Trial Day 8

Pushback from Prosecution

Manafort trial Day 8: Mueller team complains about scolding from judge

Prosecutors say a back and forth over an expert witness in front of the jury could have left a negative impression in their minds.

Prosecutors frustrated by repeated slapdowns from the judge at Paul Manafort’s trial made a formal written protest Thursday, complaining they were unfairly called out in front of the jury.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis sharply dressed down prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team Wednesday for allowing an expert witness from the Internal Revenue Service to remain in the courtroom while other witnesses were testifying. Typically, witnesses aren’t supposed to hear anyone else’s testimony in a trial so they don’t influence each other.

In a written motion filed before court convened Thursday, Mueller’s team asked the judge to explain to the jury that the prosecution had done nothing wrong. Indeed, a transcript of the first day of the trial last week shows that prosecutor Uzo Asonye specifically asked that witnesses be excluded “with the exception of our expert and our [FBI] case agent.” The judge and the prosecutor went on to discuss Michael Welch by name and his expertise. And the judge unmistakably approved the exception.

“The Court mistakenly faulted the government for permitting IRS revenue agent Michael Welch, the government’s expert witness, to remain in the courtroom during the proceedings, when in fact on the first day of trial the Court had expressly granted the government’s motion to do so,” prosecutors complained in their motion. "The Court’s reprimand of government counsel suggested to the jury—incorrectly—that the government had acted improperly and in contravention of Court rules. This prejudice should be cured."
The federal court where Paul Manafort’s trial is taking place is pictured. | AP Photo

Manafort Trial
Cranky judge, flawed witness threaten Mueller’s Manafort case


Ellis chastised Asonye in court on Wednesday moments after he called Welch to the stand. “It’s my clear recollection…that I wasn’t admitting experts,” Ellis said. “You need to ask specifically. You’re going to go ahead now, I’m going to permit that, but I want you to remember that.”

Asonye responded that prosecutors would “check the transcript,” but it was their belief that they specifically asked for permission to allow expert witnesses like Welch to remain in the courtroom despite the usual prohibition.

“Well, let me be clear: I don’t care what the transcript says,” Ellis snapped, before backing down a little. “Maybe I made a mistake. But I want you to remember don’t do that again. When I exclude witnesses, I mean everybody. Now, it may be that I didn’t make that clear.”

The judge’s tone suggested he was disturbed by the prosecutors’ actions, although he eventually declared, "It’s not a big deal."

In their letter, Mueller’s team said that the judge’s action left a “negative impression” of them. “The Court’s sharp reprimand of government counsel in front of the jury on August 8 was…erroneous. And, while mistakes are a natural part of the trial process, the mistake here prejudiced the government,” Mueller’s team wrote, asking Ellis to tell jurors he was mistaken and the prosecution did nothing wrong.

The judge’s slap at the prosecution over the expert witness issue was just the latest in a series of rebukes he’s delivered to Mueller’s squad in recent days over topics ranging from body language to excessive informality to efforts to introduce visual imagery of Manafort’s lavish lifestyle. The prickly exchanges have clearly begun to grate on the prosecution team, which has sometimes protested verbally in court, but did not formally lodge a written objection before Thursday.


Washington Post Day 9 Manafort Trial

More strange comments from Judge Ellis

Ellis then declared another recess, though before he left court, he issued a strange warning to those gathered, “You cannot look and see what’s on counsels’ tables, without their permission of course.” He left to the side of the courtroom where the jurors usually gather, which is different from where he usually exits.

Politico Day 9 Manafort Trial

Rumors swirled through the ninth-floor courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, about what the delay could mean — from a looming guilty plea from the former Trump campaign manager, to Judge T.S. Ellis III conceding his second mistake in two days, to an issue with the jury — but there were no clear answers.

Instead, Ellis, a 78-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee explained briefly to the court that he had a busy docket of more than 200 to 300 cases that he also has to “keep moving” and sent the overflow crowd off for an early lunch.

“I assure you this was all necessary,” Ellis said.

We are nearing the end of the Manafort Trial. There may be a few more days of testimony from the Defense, and then deliberation from the jury. Unless there is some weird circumstance where there maybe a mistrial (Friday’s long delay w/ Judge Ellis and Counsel behind closed doors discussing something - juror, someone reading something from one of the lawyer’s desks, or something to do with Judge Ellis’ speaking incorrectly in front of jurors) it should be over within the week - it’s the rocket docket as they say, fast trials.

But this is a searing article describing Manafort’s excesses, his hubris and his underhanded ways, and it should I hope end in Manafort’s conviction.

The whole trajectory of Mr. Manafort’s life — from the son of a blue-collar, small-town mayor to a jet-setting international political consultant to Trump campaign chairman and now to prisoner in an Alexandria, Va., jail awaiting a jury verdict — is a tale of greed, deception and ego. His trial on 18 charges of bank and tax fraud has ripped away the elaborate facade of a man who, the story went, had moved the swimming pool at one of his eight homes a few feet to catch the perfect combination of sun and shade, and who worked for the Trump campaign at no charge to intimate that for a man of his fabulous wealth, a salary was trivial.

His trial also underscores questions about how someone in such deep financial trouble rose to the top of the Trump campaign, spreading a stain that has touched the president’s innermost circle. The formidable parade of more than 20 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits has further eroded the notion, advanced by President Trump, that the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, is on a “witch hunt.”

The trial is also a spectacle of small humiliations for Mr. Manafort, 69. His once perfectly coifed dark hair, admired by Mr. Trump, is now gray and shaggy without the benefit of a stylist. His shirts, which he once bought by the half dozen for $1,500 each, are now delivered by his wife to his lawyer in a white plastic bag. Their communication consists of him winking at her or forming a silent kiss as he is led in and out of the courtroom. He has been admonished not to turn around in his courtroom seat to look at her.

A subplot of the saga is the betrayal of Mr. Manafort by his longtime deputy Rick Gates, who had been at his side for the last dozen years. A former senior official of both the Trump campaign and the Trump inaugural committee, Mr. Gates has testified that he helped execute Mr. Manafort’s fraudulent schemes while simultaneously stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, apparently because he felt that Mr. Manafort was not dividing the riches from Ukraine fairly.

Paul never believed that the rules applied to him,” said Ms. Levinson, who described him as “brilliant” in her 2016 memoir. “They were for others who couldn’t outsmart the system.”

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Washington Post Manfort Trial Day 10

Paul Manafort trial Day 10: Banker says Manafort omitted two NY mortgages in $16 million loan applications

2:55 p.m.: Defense suggests Manafort didn’t fill out loan applications, and terms of loan (7.25% interest) weren’t great

Brennan said that he was aware that Manafort’s American Express bill had a $300,000 outstanding debt, the bulk of which was for Yankees season tickets, had been paid off by the time both loans were approved, and his credit score had improved. Brennan said at that point Manafort had “acceptable” credit.

Westling also raised the possibility that Manafort, who was doing real estate business with his son-in-law, did not fill out the loan applications himself, although they were signed with his name. He also suggested Manafort was unaware that he had to report outstanding debts that were not his alone.

Politico Coverage Manafort trial - Day 10

A Chicago bank CEO who was seeking a top job in the Trump administration overrode the objections of the bank’s president in order to green light a $9.5 million loan for Paul Manafort in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign, a bank executive testified Monday.

The testimony came as prosecutors in Manafort’s tax- and bank-fraud trial prepared to rest their case Monday afternoon against the former Trump campaign chairman after nearly two weeks of witnesses, often presented at a breakneck speed insisted upon by U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Just before jurors were ushered in Monday afternoon for Brennan’s testimony, prosecutor Greg Andres confirmed that Mueller’s team is largely finished presenting evidence in the case. Andres said that depending on a ruling from the judge, a Treasury Department official might be recalled for brief testimony about the lack of reports on Manafort’s overseas bank accounts.

Motions by the defense to dismiss some or all of the 18 counts against Manafort are expected Monday afternoon. Those will be followed by an announcement by the defense about whether it intends to call any witnesses to bolster its case.

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By reading who is not testifying, it may be that they are being held until another investigation or trial is upcoming. But the evidence seems to run deep around Manafort’s and Gate’s wrongdoing…

This brief list, which is by no means comprehensive, includes several people who are knowledgeable about Manafort’s alleged crimes, according to the testimony of other witnesses, but who are not being called by prosecutors to the stand:

  1. Jeffrey Yohai – Manafort’s former son-in-law.

  2. Steve Calk — the founder, chairman and CEO of the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago

  3. David Fallarino — Manafort’s front office banker at Citizens Bank.

It’s not clear whether the defense will seek to call Yohai, Calk or Fallarino to testify on Manafort’s behalf, but the evidence introduced in court thus far makes that possibility appear remote. By not procuring testimony from these potential witnesses, the special counsel’s office appears to have accepted some added difficulties in its prosecution of Manafort in order to protect the Department of Justice’s ability to pursue other ongoing inquiries. It’s a fair bet there’s a lot more to come from this story.


Washington Post Manafort Trial Day 11

Paul Manafort trial Day 11: Defense rests, Manafort will not take the stand


Washington Post Manafort Trial Day 12 Closing arguments

Paul Manafort trial Day 12: Prosecutors say Manafort money trail ‘littered with lies’

Prosecutor Andres proceeds with evidence of all the money that Manafort had used and his tax and bank fraud abuses.

but ended the argument like this

Andres then appealed to jurors’ common sense. Was it possible, he asked facetiously, that Gates or some unknown person had forged Manafort’s signature on the accounts, put $60 million in them over time, and then allowed Paul Manafort to use them to buy $15 million in clothes and cars?

Does that make any sense at all?” Andres asked the jury. “We should all be so lucky.”

A few jurors chuckled in response.


NBC News coverage - Manafort trial day 12

Paul Manafort “is not above the law,” government prosecutors said Wednesday as closing arguments began in the federal fraud trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

"Mr. Manafort lied when he had money and lied to get more money when he didn’t," prosecutor Greg Andres told the jury during the opening of his closing argument.

Andres, part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team, went on to argue that Manafort perpetrated two schemes: Keeping income in offshore accounts to hide it from the U.S. government and lying on bank applications to get loans that he couldn’t qualify for.


Politico - Manafort Trial - Day 12 Closing arguments

After closing arguments, Judge T.S. Ellis — whose routine interjections have irked prosecutors throughout the trial — is expected to deliver lengthy instructions to the jury, which could begin deliberations as early as Wednesday afternoon.


Ken Vogel (Politico) links to a Ukrainian paper’s graphic of where the money Manafort received via Oligarch came from…check it out here.